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

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Other Words from barnacle

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

Examples of barnacle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Despite losing some ratings ground like the rest of TV, as viewers have become fractured across all kinds of TV outlets, reality TV has held on like a crusty, abrasive barnacle., "I remember wondering about the durability of reality TV after it broke through in the U.S. in the early oughts.," 30 Sep. 2019 In their natural habitat, gulls primarily eat squid, anchovies, crabs, barnacles and other marine life. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Sea gulls love In-N-Out but their diet may be changing their pristine island homes," 3 Nov. 2019 And as the team learned from early conversations with scientists, giant floating cities — like anything that floats, from boats to docks to barges — would be likely to attract barnacles and other invertebrates. Lindsey J. Smith, Smithsonian, "Designing Floating Buildings With an Eye to the Marine Species Living Underneath," 7 Oct. 2019 Veils of seaweed hung from its rotting timbers, and it was encrusted with barnacles. Smithsonian, "John Steinbeck’s Epic Ocean Voyage Rewrote the Rules of Ecology," 22 Aug. 2019 Each level is a watertight compartment of similar complexity – a barnacle and a coral reef on the same rung are equally complex. Antonio G. Valdecasas, The Conversation, "Evolution doesn’t proceed in a straight line – so why draw it that way?," 3 Sep. 2019 On Game of Thrones, Daenerys stays glued to Drogon's back like a barnacle on a sea turtle's shell. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "'Game of Thrones' Science: Could a Person Ride a Dragon?," 15 Apr. 2019 The array of shellfish, raw and cooked, may include gooseneck barnacles but no lobsters. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "In Fall’s Biggest Openings, Experience Is on the Menu," 3 Sep. 2019 When the pumice makes its way to the Great Barrier Reef, the sea life attached will travel too, potentially bringing diverse new colonies of barnacles, corals and more. Kara Fox And Jessie Yeung, CNN, "A giant pumice stone floating in the Pacific could help heal Australia's Great Barrier Reef," 25 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for barnacle

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Barnacle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for barnacle


How to pronounce barnacle (audio)

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

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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

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