nau·​ti·​lus | \ ˈnȯ-tə-ləs , ˈnä-\
plural nautiluses or nautili\ ˈnȯ-​tə-​ˌlī , -​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

Built in 1952, this three-bedroom nautilus of a home, designed by architecture icon Frank Lloyd Wright for his son, is one of a handful of rounded designs that foreshadows the contours of the Guggenheim Museum. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 Its spiral shape was inspired by the nautilus, the self-replicating living fossil. Washington Post, "Monument honoring Virginia native tribes awaits ceremony," 6 Mar. 2018 In the ocean’s depths where oxygen gets thin, the nautilus seems to be putting itself at risk by expending so much effort on movement. New York Times, "The Chambered Nautilus Is the Ocean’s Most Efficient Jet Engine," 23 Feb. 2018 The nautilus has not populated the earth as extensively as the ammonite, which broke into thousands of species, Famoso said. Kyle Spurr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Girl finds 65 million year old fossil in Oregon field," 19 Mar. 2018 Adding weight to this theory is evidence that nautiluses, a closely related shelled cephalopod known to be less intelligent, don’t possess the same editing capabilities. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "Octopuses Can Stray From Their DNA," 24 Jan. 2018 One looked like a nautilus shell, with thick dots marking points along its swirl. Sam Anderson, New York Times, "The Mind of John McPhee," 28 Sep. 2017 And while this feature persists in the nautilus and a few other remaining species, subsequent cephalopods eventually shed their shells. Colin Dickey, New Republic, "When Squid Ruled the Earth," 21 Sep. 2017 Other cephalopods, like octopuses and nautiluses, lack S-crystallin lens proteins. Kai Sinclair, Science | AAAS, "Watch the secret to a squid’s crystal clear underwater vision," 10 Aug. 2017

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.

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of nautilus

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

Comments on nautilus

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to deny responsibility for

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