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 Gilbert Elizalde, inspired by the successful transplantation of a kidney harvested from a cadaver in the U.S., intended to replace Luna's missing appendage with a donor's. Scott H. Frey, Scientific American, "Hand Transplants Demonstrate the Nervous System's Amazing Adaptability," 7 Dec. 2020 Many of the spots treated Collins as an appendage of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which is not the perception locals tend to have of their longtime senator, and reached the point of saturation. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "The swing senator," 19 Nov. 2020 When Kovalyov finally manages to say that the nose ought to know his place, his former appendage replies that what Kovalyov says makes no sense, which is the most sensible line in the story. Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, "An Incandescent Inanity," 3 Nov. 2020 This skill comes in handy because each of the soft-bodied cephalopod’s eight arms can call its own shots, with a cluster of nerve cells capable of directing the appendage’s movements without needing to wait for instructions from the brain. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Octopuses Taste Food With Special Cells in Their Suckers," 2 Nov. 2020 When the subjects moved their arms, a robotic appendage behind them simultaneously touched their backs in the same fashion. Jake Bittle, Popular Science, "Why do we see ghosts?," 6 Oct. 2020 These arthropods are not alone among their arthropodish kind in coopting an appendage this way. Emily Willingham, Wired, "Does a Millipede Have a Penis? Well ... Define 'Penis'," 22 Sep. 2020 Shaped like a paddle some 17 feet long, the unearthed appendage, unveiled earlier this year in the journal Nature, is the most extreme aquatic adaptation ever found in a large predatory dinosaur. National Geographic, "DINOSAURS," 15 Sep. 2020 Sadly, larvaceans don't have the appendage advantages that spiders have either. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Scientists Tour Elaborate, Deep-Sea ‘Snot Palaces’ for the First Time," 9 June 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

11 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appendage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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