nau·​ti·​lus | \ ˈnȯ-tə-ləs How to pronounce nautilus (audio) , ˈnä- \
plural nautiluses or nautili\ ˈnȯ-​tə-​ˌlī How to pronounce nautili (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 nautilus-shell impressions, however, were made by a machine. Edward Burtynsky, National Geographic, "Hidden landscapes reveal how humans have reshaped the planet," 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, "Cooking from Georgia O’Keeffe’s Recipes," 6 Mar. 2020 Giant mollusks with flanged shells that looked like alien cruisers disappeared forever, and many species of nautilus-like cephalopods called ammonites also went extinct. National Geographic, "Earth has had more major mass extinctions than we realized," 18 Dec. 2019 The team plans to select one or more species of cephalopod — the group including squid, octopus, cuttlefish and nautilus — as part of their lineup. Quanta Magazine, "How to Grow a New Model Organism," 27 July 2016 Architect Bruce Goff used acrylic for transparent handrails that curl through the nautilus-like interior. Mimi Zeiger,, "La Brea Tar Pits’ trippy new pavilion from Spain’s Selgascano could be L.A.’s next selfie magnet," 27 June 2019 The ever-fascinating Fibonacci spiral, for example, shows up in everything from sunflower seed arrangements to nautilus shells to pine cones. Maddie Burakoff, Smithsonian, "Decoding the Mathematical Secrets of Plants’ Stunning Leaf Patterns," 6 June 2019 Correction on March 11, 2015: An earlier version of this article asserted that the golden ratio is found in nautilus shells, which is a common misperception. Quanta Magazine, "Strange Stars Pulse to the Golden Mean," 10 Mar. 2015 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Nautilus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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Spanish Central: Translation of nautilus

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

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