Definition of hectocotylus
: a modified arm of a male cephalopod that is specially and variously adapted to effect the fertilization of the eggs; especially : an arm that in argonauts and some octopods receives the spermatophores, is inserted into the female mantle cavity, and then is broken free from the body of the male
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:
- More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
Origin and Etymology of hectocotylus
New Latin, from hect- + -cotylus (from Greek kotylē cup, anything hollow)
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up hectocotylus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).