ar·​thro·​pod ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio)
: 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
arthropod adjective
arthropodan adjective

Examples of arthropod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This visual acuity from such a tiny, simple creature is unusual because capabilities like that are usually reserved for more advanced creatures, like vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopods. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 11 Apr. 2024 In addition to Belgica antarctica, the terrestrial ecosystem is composed of just a handful of small animals like springtails (a type of tiny arthropod), a smattering of microorganisms and low-lying ground cover such as lichen. Popular Science, 15 Feb. 2024 These arthropods are more likely to prey on ticks when they are fully engorged with blood. Paul Richards, Field & Stream, 9 Nov. 2023 Present at the site were arthropods (animals that have an exoskeleton and molt, like millipedes and shrimps), cnidarians (jellyfish and corals) and a large number of algae and sponges. Jack Knudson, Discover Magazine, 9 Feb. 2024 Their Venom Is Among The Most Potent In The Entire Arachnida Class Arachnida is a class of joint-legged arthropods which includes species such as scorpions, ticks, mites, pseudoscorpions, harvestmen, and whip scorpions. Scott Travers, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 Eyelash mites are microscopic arthropods that live on or near hair follicles. Johnstone M. Kim, Verywell Health, 16 Dec. 2023 Based on existing arthropods, the researchers conclude that this is almost certainly the remains of its digestive tract. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 27 Sep. 2023 This project aims to document the species that live indoors with humans, including but not exclusive to arthropods like insects and spiders. Scistarter Team, Discover Magazine, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arthropod.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from base of New Latin Arthropoda, group name, from arthro- arthro- + -poda, neuter plural of Greek -podos -pod

Note: The taxon Arthropoda, "those with jointed limbs," was introduced by the German zoologist Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold (1804-85) in Lehrbuch der vergleichenden Anatomie, von v. Siebold und Stannius [Hermann Friedrich Stannius], Erster Teil, Wirbellose Thiere, von C.Th. v. Siebold (Berlin, 1848), p. 4. Note that the first part of the Lehrbuch was published after the second part, released in 1846, an irregularity that has resulted in Arthropoda being incorrectly dated to that year, and credited to both Stannius and von Siebold. See the discussion in Thomas A. Hegna, et al., "The correct authorship of the taxon name 'Arthropoda'," Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny, vol. 71, no. 2 (November 19, 2013), pp. 71-74.

First Known Use

1857, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arthropod was in 1857

Dictionary Entries Near arthropod

Cite this Entry

“Arthropod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​thro·​pod ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio)
: any of a phylum of invertebrate animals (as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) having a segmented body, jointed limbs, and a shell of chitin that is shed periodically
arthropod adjective

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