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

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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

Along with entering the butterfly tent, visitors can view a live bug display that includes millipedes, beetles, milkweed bugs, cockroaches and scorpions. Ashley Sloboda, The Seattle Times, "Butterfly exhibit takes wing at Fort Wayne conservatory," 21 Apr. 2018 Stick insects, millipedes and grasshoppers all light up under UV light. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Puffin Beaks Are Fluorescent, and They’re Not the Only Ones," 9 Apr. 2018 Think of spiders or millipedes, neither of which trip over themselves, despite being equipped only with bug brains. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Wristband Lets the Brain Control a Computer with a Thought and a Twitch," 27 Mar. 2018 Yes, cyanide—the same chemical compound that spies put in their worst-case-scenario capsules and millipedes emit to keep predators away. Jason Bittel, Smithsonian, "Soon, You Could Be Able to Tell if Your Aquarium Fish Was Caught With Cyanide," 11 May 2017 Scientists discovered the pink dragon millipede in 2007 in the Greater Mekong region of Thailand. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "7 Real-Life Dragons That Live Up to Their Names," 28 Jan. 2017 While the gonopods are on the seventh segment, the millipede’s sperm actually originates on the second segment. National Geographic, "Sneaky Animal Sex—Are They or Aren’t They?," 16 Sep. 2017 According to Greshko, the ants were afraid of everything from millipedes to mites to smaller ants. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "T. Rex Ants Found Alive for the First Time," 17 May 2017 The ranks include not only fireflies but also some beetles, millipedes and earthworms. Author: William J. Broad, Alaska Dispatch News, "The deep seas are alive with light," 23 Aug. 2017

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for millipede

The first known use of millipede was in 1601

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on millipede

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with millipede

Spanish Central: Translation of millipede

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

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