ap·​pend·​age | \ ə-ˈpen-dij How to pronounce appendage (audio) \

Definition of appendage

1 : an adjunct to something larger or more important : appurtenance
2 : a usually projecting part of an animal or plant body that is typically smaller and of less functional importance than the main part to which it is attached especially : a limb or analogous part (such as a seta)
3 [appendant] : a dependent or subordinate person

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The Root of Appendage

Appendix isn't the only noun that comes from append. Unlike appendix, appendage doesn't suggest the end of something, but simply something attached. The word is often used in biology to refer to parts of an animal's body: an insect's antennae, mouthparts, or wings, for example. The appendages of some animals will grow back after they've been removed; a salamander, for example, can regrow a finger, and the tiny sea squirt can regrow all its appendages—and even its brain.

Examples of appendage in a Sentence

The court system acts as an appendage to the government. an appendage of a larger political party
Recent Examples on the Web Unlike the long, narrowing tails of land-living dinosaurs, Spinosaurus’ rearmost appendage seemed built to whip back and forth like that of a crocodile or a newt—a theory that seemed borne out when the researchers modeled its motion in a water tank. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Groundbreaking Fossil Suggests Spinosaurus Is First Known Swimming Dinosaur," 30 Apr. 2020 Bones’ structures can indicate how appendages moved. Popular Science, "How do we know what dinosaurs looked like?," 11 Apr. 2020 Others swim, using beating cilia, or link up blobby appendages and circle each other a few times before heading off in separate directions. Joshua Sokol, New York Times, "Meet the Xenobots, Virtual Creatures Brought to Life," 3 Apr. 2020 Previously this fragment had been called the Orion or Local spur, suggesting a minor structure similar to smaller appendages seen branching off spiral arms in other galaxies. Mark J. Reid, Scientific American, "A New Map of the Milky Way," 17 Mar. 2020 While these appendages of the building, including the Bar Room and Central Park Room, felt like the branches of a tree, the South Wing dining area felt flat to its new owners. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Tavern on the Green’s Latest Facelift Marks a New Era for the Historic Eatery," 4 June 2019 Narwhal became a near instant viral star this week after the Twitter account WeRateDogs tweeted out a series of pictures showcasing the extra appendage growing out of his forehead. Time, "Here's What We Know About the Extra Tail on Narwhal the 'Unicorn' Puppy's Head," 15 Nov. 2019 Fanciers know that cats resort to paws only as face-cleaning appendages, preferring to rely on their highly specialized tongues to do the job. Caitlin Lovinger, New York Times, "A Warm Welcome," 15 Mar. 2020 The monarch caterpillar has only two such appendages, one at each end of the body. Calvin Finch,, "How to attract and nourish monarchs with your San Antonio garden," 12 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appendage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of appendage

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for appendage

Time Traveler

The first known use of appendage was in 1647

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Statistics for appendage

Last Updated

7 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appendage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for appendage


How to pronounce appendage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of appendage

medical : a body part (such as an arm or a leg) connected to the main part of the body
: something connected or joined to a larger or more important thing


ap·​pend·​age | \ ə-ˈpen-dij How to pronounce appendage (audio) \

Kids Definition of appendage

: something (as a leg) attached to a larger or more important thing


ap·​pend·​age | \ ə-ˈpen-dij How to pronounce appendage (audio) \

Medical Definition of appendage

: a subordinate or derivative body part especially : a limb or analogous part (as a seta)

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