medusa

noun
me·​du·​sa | \ mi-ˈdü-sə How to pronounce medusa (audio) , -ˈdyü-, -zə\

Definition of medusa

1 capitalized [ Latin, from Greek Medousa ] : a mortal Gorgon who is slain when decapitated by Perseus
2 plural medusae\ mi-​ˈdü-​ˌsē How to pronounce medusae (audio) , -​ˈdyü-​ , -​ˌzē , -​ˌsī , -​ˌzī\ also medusas [ New Latin, from Latin ] : the typically free-swimming, bell-shaped, usually sexually-reproducing, solitary or colonial form of a cnidarian (such as an obelia, box jellyfish, or sea nettle) in which nematocyst-studded tentacles arise and hang down from the margin of the nearly transparent, gelatinous bell — see also jellyfish

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from medusa

medusan \ mi-​ˈdü-​sᵊn How to pronounce medusan (audio) , -​ˈdyü-​ , -​zᵊn \ adjective or noun
medusoid \ mi-​ˈdü-​ˌsȯid How to pronounce medusoid (audio) , -​ˈdyü-​ , -​ˌzȯid \ adjective or noun

Examples of medusa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Gold thought that genes unique to jellyfish would be active during the transformation from polyp to medusa. Quanta Magazine, "Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex," 8 Jan. 2019 To go from being a stationary polyp to a floating medusa is almost akin to humans evolving the ability to swim through the air and capture birds with springy, netlike appendages. Quanta Magazine, "Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex," 8 Jan. 2019 In the 1990s Italian researchers discovered that Turritopsis dorhnii, a jellyfish the size of a pen tip, reverts back and forth from a medusa to a polyp, earning the nickname the immortal jellyfish. National Geographic, "Like 'Deadpool,' This Jellyfish Has Amazing Superpowers," 2 Mar. 2016 If so, scientists are hopeful that once conditions in the lake improve, a new generation will again produce the free swimming adult medusa that so delight tourists. National Geographic, "The Famous Jellyfish Lake Is Running Out of Jellyfish," 4 May 2016 In the 1990s Italian researchers discovered that Turritopsis dorhnii, a jellyfish the size of a pen tip, reverts back and forth from a medusa to a polyp, earning the nickname the immortal jellyfish. Martin Shields, National Geographic, "Like 'Deadpool,' This Jellyfish Has Amazing Superpowers," 2 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'medusa.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of medusa

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about medusa

Statistics for medusa

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medusa

The first known use of medusa was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on medusa

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with medusa

Spanish Central: Translation of medusa

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about medusa

Comments on medusa

What made you want to look up medusa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!