obelia

noun
obe·​lia | \ ō-ˈbēl-yə \

Definition of obelia 

: any of a genus (Obelia) of small colonial marine hydroids with colonies branched like trees

First Known Use of obelia

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obelia

borrowed from New Latin, genus name, probably from Greek obelós "spit, four-sided pillar" + New Latin -ia -ia entry 1 — more at obelus

Note: Name introduced by the French naturalist François Péron (1775-1810) and the naturalist and artist Charles Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846) in "Tableau des caractères génériques et spécifiques de toutes les espèces des Méduses connues jusqu'à ce jour," Annales du Muséum d'histoire naturelle, tome 14 (1809), p. 355. The authors give no indication of the name's etymology, though they refer to a conical appendage at the apex of the medusa's body ("un appendice conique au sommet de l'ombrelle") that may be the obelós in question.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about obelia

Statistics for obelia

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obelia

The first known use of obelia was in 1868

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on obelia

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obelia

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obelia

Comments on obelia

What made you want to look up obelia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a person who helps groups work together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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