Definition of barnacle
1 : barnacle goose
2 [from a popular belief that the goose grew from the crustacean] : any of numerous marine crustaceans (subclass Cirripedia) with feathery appendages for gathering food that are free-swimming as larvae but permanently fixed (as to rocks, boat hulls, or whales) as adults
barnacledplay \-kəld\ adjective
Recent Examples of barnacle from the Web
Turner awakens from what appears to be a bad dream, and all seems normal — except for barnacles under the bed.
This ugly gizmo clings like a barnacle to the outside of your home, readable only by functionaries.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barnacle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of barnacle
Middle English barnakille, alteration of bernake, bernekke
First Known Use: 15th century
BARNACLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of barnacle for English Language Learners
: a kind of small shellfish that attaches itself to rocks and the bottoms of boats underwater
BARNACLE Defined for Kids
Definition of barnacle for Students
: a small saltwater crustacean that becomes permanently attached (as to rocks or the bottoms of boats) as an adult
Seen and Heard
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