bar·na·cle | \ˈbär-ni-kəl \

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

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Other Words from barnacle

barnacled \ˈbär-ni-kəld \ adjective

Examples of barnacle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But the Declaration of Independence invites speculation, accruing apocryphal stories like a ship attracts barnacles. Stephan Salisbury,, "Rare version of the Declaration of Independence on display at the Museum of the American Revolution just in time for July 4th," 26 June 2018 While Galicia is famed for its seafoods, the menus focus mainly on octopus, various types of shellfish and their coveted delicacy, barnacles. Doug Hansen,, "Hiking Spain's wild coast," 12 July 2018 The scientists have observed 13 different species making use of the one-acre project near Fort Carroll, including barnacles, mussels, mud crabs and grass shrimp. Scott Dance,, "Man-made oyster reef near Key Bridge 'flourishing,' Chesapeake Bay Foundation says," 28 June 2018 Their fishing rigs, baited with sea worms and squid and anchored with pyramid sinkers, could not tempt the tautog, who preferred barnacles and crabs. Robert F. Kennedy, Town & Country, "Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Describes What It's Really Like Inside the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport," 1 June 2018 Applications include tagging coral reefs for research, cleaning barnacles off of boats, building piers, laying underwater pipes, covert actions that remain classified, and, of course, building the underwater patio of your dreams. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "This Drill Handles Saltwater Like a Boss," 12 Jan. 2016 People can vote for one of four options: biscuits, bacon, butternut squash and barnacles. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "IHOP says it's changing iconic name; pancake lovers flip out," 6 June 2018 Gogo Jewelry has been channeling nature into jewelry for more than 30 years, and celebrities such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and even Vladimir Putin’s ex-wife Lyudmila have become fans of Gogo’s barnacle rings and shell earrings. Hallie Levine Sklar, Town & Country, "The Complete Guide to Sea Island, Georgia," 28 July 2017 Use a sharp paring knife to scrape off any barnacles or dirt on the shells, and check for beards. Rochelle Bilow, Bon Appetit, "How to Cook Mussels Like Some Kind of Professional Mussel-Cooker," 9 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for barnacle

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for barnacle

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of barnacle

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on barnacle

Spanish Central: Translation of barnacle

Nglish: Translation of barnacle for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on barnacle

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one that holds something together

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