ar·​thro·​pod | \ ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio) \

Definition of arthropod

: any of a phylum (Arthropoda) of invertebrate animals (such as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) that have a segmented body and jointed appendages, a usually chitinous exoskeleton molted at intervals, and a dorsal anterior brain connected to a ventral chain of ganglia

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from arthropod

arthropod adjective
arthropodan \ är-​ˈthrä-​pə-​dən How to pronounce arthropodan (audio) \ adjective

Examples of arthropod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Yes, gardeners can test the microbial fitness of their soil by burying briefs for two months to see how much of the cotton has been eaten away by beneficial bacteria, arthropods and other microorganisms., "Bury those tighty whities to test garden soil’s health," 5 June 2019 Both terrestrial and marine arthropods, including mites, spiders, millipedes, beetles, and wasps, were found in this amber, which dates back to the mid-Cretaceous era. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "A Squid-Like Mollusk Showed Up in Ancient Amber, and No One Knows How," 16 May 2019 And as the entomologists tell them, only two kinds of arthropods actually infest humans: lice and a mite that causes scabies. National Geographic, "Think Your Body Is Infested With Insects? You're Not Alone.," 22 June 2018 This discovery isn’t necessarily surprising; modern arthropods, like mantises and arachnids, are also well-developed predators from an early age, the researchers note. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Prehistoric Sea Creature Had Fanged, Killer Babies," 11 June 2018 The new study looks at samples which date back to the 19th century when three-dimensionally preserved mineralized arthropods were discovered during a mining excavation in the Quercy region of South-Central France. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Fossils Show Ancient Horrifying Xenomorph-Style Insects," 29 Aug. 2018 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 Arachnids different from insects, which are arthropods. Mark Feeney,, "Before there was ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ . . .," 28 June 2018 Modern arthropods begin developing with a single bundle of nerve cells above their gut. National Geographic, "Half-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Brains Found in Ancient Predator," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arthropod.' 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 arthropod

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arthropod

New Latin Arthropoda, from arthr- + Greek pod-, pous foot — more at foot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arthropod

Statistics for arthropod

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arthropod

The first known use of arthropod was in 1857

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for arthropod


ar·​thro·​pod | \ ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio) \

Kids Definition of arthropod

: any of a large group of animals (as crabs, insects, and spiders) with jointed limbs and a body made up of segments

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on arthropod

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arthropod

Spanish Central: Translation of arthropod

Nglish: Translation of arthropod for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about arthropod

Comments on arthropod

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


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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