co·​pe·​pod ˈkō-pə-ˌpäd How to pronounce copepod (audio)
: any of a large subclass (Copepoda) of usually minute freshwater and marine crustaceans
copepod adjective

Examples of copepod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This copepod, a type of crustacean, grows on the host’s eyes and consumes corneal tissue, rendering Greenland sharks virtually blind. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 15 Jan. 2024 Nestled into extensive mats of ferns that grow high up in redwood canopies, researchers find aquatic crustaceans called copepods that normally would live in larger bodies of water. Discover Magazine, 6 Jan. 2024 Each copepod is around 3 millimetres long, but their leaps carried them over an average distance of 80 millimetres. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 21 Mar. 2012 The pinkish-white copepod latches onto the shark's eye, destroying the corneal tissue, resulting in eventual partial blindness. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 4 May 2023 Greenland sharks are known to famously be parasitized by the copepod scientifically known as Ommatokoita elongata. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 4 May 2023 So there’s branchiopods, ostracods, copepods, cladocerans...and besides the crustaceans, there’s a lot more. Christopher Intagliata, Scientific American, 3 May 2023 Right whale sightings in New England this time of year aren’t unusual because areas like the Nantucket shoals are teeming with copepods, a krill-like species that right whales feed on, O’Brien said. Katie Mogg,, 15 Mar. 2023 The phytoplankton, in turn, nourish krill, copepods and other tiny drifting creatures known as zooplankton that are eaten by larger animals. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 13 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'copepod.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


ultimately from Greek kōpē oar, handle + pod-, pous foot; probably akin to Latin capere to take — more at heave entry 1, foot

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of copepod was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near copepod

Cite this Entry

“Copepod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


co·​pe·​pod ˈkō-pə-ˌpäd How to pronounce copepod (audio)
: any of a large group of usually tiny freshwater and saltwater crustaceans
copepod adjective

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