mil·​li·​pede | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌpēd How to pronounce millipede (audio) \

Definition of millipede

: any of a class (Diplopoda) of myriapod arthropods having usually a cylindrical segmented body covered with hard integument, two pairs of legs on most apparent segments, and unlike centipedes no poison fangs

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

The earth is home to about 10,000 species of millipedes. Though they have no poison fangs, many of them can, when threatened, emit a liquid or gas poisonous to their enemies. If their structure were true to their name, millipedes would have a thousand legs, but in fact they have far fewer. Even so, a millipede in motion is a sight to ponder: How can it possibly coordinate all those legs so that it doesn't trip over itself? Like some tiny conga line or bunny hop, it scuttles away to a rhythm only it can hear.

Examples of millipede in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An amorous millipede begins courting by first trying to insert his uncharged eighth-leg-pair intromitta into his partner of choice. Emily Willingham, Wired, 22 Sep. 2020 The National Museum of Natural History features a giant prehistoric millipede. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Mar. 2020 Paul Zimmerman/WireImage, via Getty Images Norman Platnick was having no luck with millipedes. John Schwartz, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 The porous limestone walls are laced with thick brown arteries of twigs and creepers; below it, the ground teems with large ants and dark-blue millipedes which dart through the dirt. 1843, 20 Feb. 2020 Excess water retention in the growing mix can damage roots that the millipedes would then begin nibbling. oregonlive, 8 Feb. 2020 Worldwide, there are an estimated 12,000 millipede species and 900 species of tarantulas. Jani Actman, National Geographic, 5 Sep. 2019 By contrast, Dear Inga is very on-trend with graphic tabletops made from the building’s old Anna’s Danish Cookies sign, wooden millipede-like light fixtures and teal accents. Soleil Ho,, 19 Dec. 2019 Two months earlier, emperor scorpions and giant African millipedes from Tanzania had escaped from a package addressed to Lapkiewicz on a postal service delivery truck. Jani Actman, National Geographic, 5 Sep. 2019

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

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for millipede

Latin millepeda, a small crawling animal, from mille thousand + ped-, pes foot — more at foot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About millipede

Time Traveler for millipede

Time Traveler

The first known use of millipede was in 1601

See more words from the same year

Statistics for millipede

Cite this Entry

“Millipede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for millipede



English Language Learners Definition of millipede

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


mil·​li·​pede | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌpēd How to pronounce millipede (audio) \

Kids Definition of millipede

: an animal that is an arthropod with a long roundish body somewhat like that of a centipede but with two pairs of legs on most of its many body sections


mil·​li·​pede | \ ˈmil-ə-ˌpēd How to pronounce millipede (audio) \

Medical Definition of millipede

: any of a class (Diplopoda) of arthropods having usually a cylindrical segmented body, two pairs of legs on most segments, and including some forms that secrete toxic substances causing skin irritation but that unlike centipedes possess no poison fangs

More from Merriam-Webster on millipede

Nglish: Translation of millipede for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about millipede


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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