octopus

noun oc·to·pus \ ˈäk-tə-pəs , -ˌpu̇s \
Updated on: 5 Dec 2017

Definition of octopus

plural octopuses or octopi play \ˈäk-tə-ˌpī\
1 : any of a genus (Octopus) of cephalopod mollusks that have eight muscular arms equipped with two rows of suckers; broadly : any octopod excepting the paper nautilus
2 : something that resembles an octopus especially in having many centrally directed branches
  • an octopus of a corporation which lends, buys, produces, and sells
  • Atlantic

Recent Examples of octopus from the Web

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

Illustration of octopus

Origin and Etymology of octopus

New Latin Octopod-, Octopus, from Greek oktōpous

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms


OCTOPUS Defined for English Language Learners

octopus

noun

Definition of octopus for English Language Learners

  • : a sea animal that has a soft body and eight long arms

  • : the flesh of an octopus used as food


OCTOPUS Defined for Kids

octopus

noun oc·to·pus \ ˈäk-tə-pəs \

Definition of octopus for Students

plural octopuses or octopi \-tə-ˌpī\
: a marine animal that has a soft rounded body with eight long flexible arms about its base which have sucking disks able to seize and hold things (as prey)


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