nau·​ti·​lus | \ ˈnȯ-tə-ləs How to pronounce nautilus (audio) , ˈnä- \
plural nautiluses or nautili\ ˈnȯ-​tə-​ˌlī How to pronounce nautilus (audio) , -​ˌlē , ˈnä-​ \

Definition of nautilus

1 : any of a genus (Nautilus) of cephalopod mollusks of the South Pacific and Indian oceans with a spiral chambered shell that is pearly on the inside

called also chambered nautilus

Illustration of nautilus

Illustration of nautilus

nautilus 1

Examples of nautilus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cubbies were filled with objects: a nautilus, a hat, a small volcano. Honor Jones, The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2021 First described by Greek mathematicians, this irrational figure (also called Phi) has been found in hurricane spirals, peregrine falcon dives, and nautilus shells. Popular Science, 17 Feb. 2021 The idea is that the nautilus is the perfect proportion and can be translated to architecture, composition, whatever. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 9 Feb. 2021 While most living squids have an internal hard-shell remnant known as a pen, the ram’s horn squid has an internal shell shaped more like the external, coiled shell of its cousin the nautilus. Danielle Hall, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Dec. 2020 Inside the squid’s oblong mantle lies a multi-chambered spiral shell that looks something like a miniature nautilus shell. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2020 The first roll turned out a real dud, the gim too loose, each cut piece unwinding like a nautilus. Jennifer Hope Choi, Bon Appétit, 19 Aug. 2020 The nautilus-shell impressions, however, were made by a machine. Edward Burtynsky, National Geographic, 25 Mar. 2020 My parents had other O’Keeffe prints, too—cow skulls and empty mesas, nautilus-shell whorls and black doorways in adobe houses. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 6 Mar. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of nautilus

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nautilus

New Latin, from Latin, paper nautilus, from Greek nautilos, literally, sailor, from naus ship

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The first known use of nautilus was in 1601

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Cite this Entry

“Nautilus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on nautilus

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


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