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

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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

Imagine a spider, but with four powerful appendages sprouting from the thorax. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Captain’s Log," 18 Sep. 2017 Moira’s backstory is seen in flashbacks as an appendage to June’s story. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 6 Recap - 12 Haunting Moments From 'First Blood'," 23 May 2018 Although ispace is now its own organ, its began as an appendage of a European organization called White Label Space. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The Japanese Space Bots That Could Build ‘Moon Valley’," 14 May 2018 Christopher Chiappa’s three lacquered sculptures are 3-D drawings, their solid colors and squiggly appendages appearing to have leaped right out of Hockney’s still lifes. David Pagel,, "Nazarian show mixes Hockney and Kelley with lesser-knowns, to splendid effect," 13 June 2018 The physical homogeneity of its cars and lack of complex aerodynamic appendages like wings, dive planes, and barge boards lend themselves to scrutineering via this method. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "NASCAR’s high-tech world: Leave any preconceptions behind for this deep-dive," 31 May 2018 An armature can be made of metal, wood, or anything that will support the weight of an appendage. Lisa Deaderick,, "Carving out social and political commentary in bronze," 27 May 2018 Some 370 million years ago cladoxylopsid trees stood at least eight meters tall, capped by branches with twiggy appendages instead of leaves. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Ancient Tree Structure Is Like a Forest unto Itself," 1 Jan. 2018 His left hand was amputated at age 4, the result of a congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome, which had stunted the development of the appendage and caused excruciating pain. Jenny Vrentas,, "Shaquem Griffin’s NFL Story Begins Now," 29 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of appendage

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for appendage

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appendage

The first known use of appendage was in 1647

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More Definitions for appendage



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 \

Kids Definition of appendage

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


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)

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Comments on appendage

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