bar·​na·​cle | \ ˈbär-ni-kəl How to pronounce barnacle (audio) \

Definition of barnacle

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

Illustration of barnacle

Illustration of barnacle

barnacle 2: 1 peduncle, 2 cirri

Other Words from barnacle

barnacled \ ˈbär-​ni-​kəld How to pronounce barnacle (audio) \ adjective

Examples of barnacle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The devices aren’t foolproof: college students in Oklahoma removed a barnacle by turning on the car defroster for 15 minutes. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, 20 Sep. 2021 Applied to the hull of a ship, these synthetic feathers, like their natural counterparts, would trap air, reducing drag and discouraging barnacle growth. Ashley Stimpson, Popular Mechanics, 30 Aug. 2021 In comparison, the barnacle glue formed a bond that was eight times tougher. Max G. Levy, Wired, 24 Aug. 2021 That law is the 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), a close cousin of the Jones Act, another barnacle on maritime trade and services. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 5 July 2021 Last season, Slate’s dependably rich podcast series brought listeners to Louisiana in the ’80s and ’90s, where season host Josh Levin traced the rise of the former Klansman David Duke as a political phenomenon and culture-war barnacle. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 5 Jan. 2021 And Pollicipes polymerus may not be the only species of barnacle that does it. Daniel Cressey, Scientific American, 16 Jan. 2013 And yet some of that crusty thinking remains, like a barnacle underneath a sea lion raft, or gum underneath the table at the Hard Rock Cafe. Peter Hartlaub,, 12 Jan. 2021 Look closer: This isn’t an ordinary male sheep crab but rather a zombie crustacean that has been invaded by a parasitic barnacle. Nick Nichols, Photography, 8 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of barnacle

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for barnacle

Middle English barnakille, alteration of bernake, bernekke

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Time Traveler for barnacle

Time Traveler

The first known use of barnacle was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near barnacle

Barnaby bright


barnacle goose

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Statistics for barnacle

Cite this Entry

“Barnacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for barnacle



English Language Learners Definition of barnacle

: a kind of small shellfish that attaches itself to rocks and the bottoms of boats underwater


bar·​na·​cle | \ ˈbär-ni-kəl How to pronounce barnacle (audio) \

Kids Definition of barnacle

: a small saltwater crustacean that becomes permanently attached (as to rocks or the bottoms of boats) as an adult

More from Merriam-Webster on barnacle

Nglish: Translation of barnacle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barnacle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about barnacle


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