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

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 Summer tends to bring a lot of things out of the woodwork — distant relatives, sugar ants, and another, lesser known uninvited guest: the common house centipede. Margeaux Sippell, BostonGlobe.com, "It has 30 legs and hides in your basement in summer. Don’t kill it," 26 June 2018 Many of them perform helpful functions such as controlling rodents, slugs, centipedes and leeches, or providing chemical compounds used in cancer and heart disease treatments. Shelia Poole, ajc, "7 most common myths about snakes," 5 June 2018 Tillandsia tectorum prefers partial shade. Resembling something between a spider and centipede with white legs, these roof airplants have very narrow leaves that are lined with fuzzy white hairs. Karen Dardick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bromeliads create garden drama," 17 May 2018 Plant your lawn: This is the prime planting season for warm-season grasses, such as St. Augustine, centipede, Bermuda and zoysia. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "This week's gardening tips: stake tomato plants and add sod," 29 Apr. 2018 Tick off the number and species of each organism observed, such as centipedes, ground beetles, and spiders. Julie Monahan, Good Housekeeping, "10 Easy Soil Tests," 9 Sep. 2015 Playa Arts Sneak Peek Family-friendly look at some of the works in progress, including a giant walking centipede Myriapoda Robota and the nine-story-tall Tree of Life, for next season’s Burning Man Festival. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kids listings," 10 May 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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Statistics for centipede

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for centipede

The first known use of centipede was in 1601

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More Definitions for centipede



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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a small bunch of flowers

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