appendage

noun
ap·​pend·​age | \ə-ˈpen-dij \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Like its adult counterparts, the little arthropod had a spiny raptorial appendage used for grasping prey and the radiodontan’s characteristic circular mouth filled with sharp teeth. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Prehistoric Sea Creature Had Fanged, Killer Babies," 11 June 2018 District 7: An incumbent Republican bows out This district, previously the 15th, used to have a long Republican appendage attached to part of the Democratic-leaning Lehigh Valley. New York Times, "Pennsylvania’s Primary: Congressional Races to Watch," 14 May 2018 Lee, meanwhile, jumped into the mumbo-jumbo with both feet and a collection of other appendages as well. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "The larger-than-life huckster dialogue of Stan Lee," 13 Nov. 2018 Put on that thing that’s going to attach to your appendages or whatever. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Swiping on Tinder is addictive. That’s partly because it was inspired by an experiment that ‘turned pigeons into gamblers.’," 19 Sep. 2018 The machine is set up much like an actual mantis shrimp appendage. Matt Simon, WIRED, "'Ninjabot' Reveals the Mantis Shrimp's Wily Snail-Hunting Scheme," 14 June 2018 True, tumbleweeds roll across the desert, and many bacteria move themselves through fluids by spinning whip-like appendages, but these are not good choices for negotiating the unpredictable ruggedness of land. Charles S. Cockell, WSJ, "The Limits of Extra-Terrestrial Freakiness," 7 June 2018 Now archaeologists working in Saudi Arabia are finding remnants of other human appendages that point to an earlier migration out of Africa than has been previously assumed. National Geographic, "85,000-Year-Old Footprints Show Stepping Stone in Human Migration," 14 May 2018 To its right, a jumble of tubular appendages resemble a maze of coral. Peter Reese, Popular Mechanics, "4 Reasons Why You Need To Hike the Sonoran Desert," 2 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of appendage

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about appendage

Dictionary Entries near appendage

appellee

appellor

append

appendage

appendaged

appendance

appendant

Statistics for appendage

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appendage

The first known use of appendage was in 1647

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for appendage

appendage

noun

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

appendage

noun
ap·​pend·​age | \ə-ˈpen-dij \

Kids Definition of appendage

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

appendage

noun
ap·​pend·​age | \ə-ˈpen-dij \

Medical Definition of appendage 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on appendage

What made you want to look up appendage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!