cen·​ti·​pede | \ ˈsen-tə-ˌpēd How to pronounce centipede (audio) \

Definition of centipede

: any of a class (Chilopoda) of long flattened many-segmented predaceous arthropods with each segment bearing one pair of legs of which the foremost pair is modified into poison fangs

Illustration of centipede

Illustration of centipede

Examples of centipede in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were a lot of spots where no animals appeared, although the zoo houses almost 19,000 individuals (including centipedes, armadillos, catfish, giraffes, lions and woodchucks). Jane Smiley, New York Times, "Jane Smiley on What St. Louis Tells Us About America," 14 Oct. 2019 Here, mother centipedes were curled protectively around clutches of eggs or juveniles. The Economist, "Even aggressive centipedes will co-operate if they have to," 7 Dec. 2019 Most toddlers don’t spend their days picking up sticks and chasing centipedes in the forest with their teacher. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "The spread of outdoor preschools raises questions about the purpose of education," 28 Oct. 2019 And the venom produced by a variety of organisms—including spiders, centipedes, scorpions, and poisonous mollusks—teems with tiny proteins. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics," 17 Oct. 2019 Among a dozen different brooches she's been seen wearing, there's been a fox, a frog and a centipede. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Meet Lady Hale, the brooch-wearing justice who delivered a blow to Boris Johnson," 24 Sep. 2019 Expect a centipede affect with more players getting sacks rather than one player dominating the stats as in the Khalil Mack years. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Raiders mailbag: What’s the prognosis for keeping Derek Carr upright?," 23 July 2019 Invertebrates such as spiders and centipedes are underappreciated kings of the jungle, eating a surprising amount of vertebrates in the Amazon, a new study says. National Geographic, "First-ever video shows a tarantula eating an opossum," 28 Feb. 2019 That in turn is what makes blood vessels in the centipede's target spasm, sometimes strongly enough to cause death. Meghan Bartels, Newsweek, "Killer Centipede Murders Mice in 30 Seconds With Spasm-Inducing 'Spooky Toxin' Also Fatal to Humans," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'centipede.' 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 centipede

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for centipede

Latin centipeda, from centi- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot

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Time Traveler for centipede

Time Traveler

The first known use of centipede was in 1601

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Statistics for centipede

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Centipede.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centipede. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for centipede


How to pronounce centipede (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of centipede

: a small creature that is like an insect and that has a long, thin body and many legs


cen·​ti·​pede | \ ˈsen-tə-ˌpēd How to pronounce centipede (audio) \

Kids Definition of centipede

: an animal that is an arthropod with a long somewhat flattened body with one pair of legs on most of its many body sections


cen·​ti·​pede | \ ˈsent-ə-ˌpēd How to pronounce centipede (audio) \

Medical Definition of centipede

: any member of the class Chilopoda of long flattened many-segmented predaceous arthropods with each segment bearing one pair of legs of which the foremost pair is modified into poison fangs

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More from Merriam-Webster on centipede

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with centipede

Spanish Central: Translation of centipede

Nglish: Translation of centipede for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about centipede

Comments on centipede

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