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 The nearly 10-week-old puppy, named Narwhal, has a tail-like appendage growing from his forehead. USA TODAY, "Surfboard proposal, Duke dorm opossum, Sky Bar’s back: News from around our 50 states," 15 Nov. 2019 The insect had a curved body and head for reaching inside flowers to feed, and its mouthparts include leglike appendages for collecting and transporting pollen similar to those of modern beetle pollinators. Stephenie Livingston, Science | AAAS, "This amber-encased beetle may have been one of the first insects to pollinate flowers," 11 Nov. 2019 The larvae, which live in the water, attach themselves to rocks by one end, and use feathery appendages at the other end as a kind of net to catch the tiniest bits of edible detritus — motes that are too small for fish and other insects. James Gorman, New York Times, "Meet the Bloodsuckers," 28 Oct. 2019 Housed in a large tomato can, its flower is a fantastic fuchsia hue, the five appendage-like tendrils glistening and sparkling. Los Angeles Times, "‘Little Shop of Horrors’ in Pasadena: Secrets of a radically reconceived Audrey II," 17 Oct. 2019 Now, with Face It, Harry is here to fill in some of the blanks—briskly, humorously, and mixed in with abstract riffs on appendages and animals. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Debbie Harry Stares Back," 12 Oct. 2019 Sometimes, one of the twins will stop developing during gestation but remain attached to its normally-developing sibling, manifesting as extra appendages or organs. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Meet the ‘Unicorn Puppy’ with an Extra Tail on His Head," 16 Nov. 2019 These grasses have bushy florets hosting grass awns, seeds with a sharp appendage meant to burrow into the ground. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "A walk in tall grass could seriously injure your dogs — here’s how to protect them.," 3 Sep. 2019 There are some ambiguous signs that there may be arthropod-like appendages attached to some segments, but the evidence isn't clear, and the authors are cautious about their interpretation here. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Before life exploded in the Cambrian, there were worms," 4 Sep. 2019

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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Appendage.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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