octopus

noun
oc·​to·​pus | \ ˈäk-tə-pəs How to pronounce octopus (audio) , -ˌpu̇s\
plural octopuses or octopi\ ˈäk-​tə-​ˌpī How to pronounce octopi (audio) \

Definition of octopus

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 sellsAtlantic

Illustration of octopus

Illustration of octopus

octopus 1

Examples of octopus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year, one whipped a kayaker with a helpless octopus and then swam away before anyone was the wiser. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Leopard Seal Poops Out USB Drive, Confusing Scientists," 5 Feb. 2019 Also in the offing: a giant octopus playing drums, Mr. Momoa emerging from a waterfall in slow motion and Willem Dafoe with dyed eyebrows, riding an enormous hammerhead shark. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "The Movies to See This Holiday Season," 17 Nov. 2018 Here are a few places to keep in mind for buying fresh octopus. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Superior Fish is closing, but Red Wings fans can still get octopi," 14 June 2018 Perched on top of Murakami’s famed pillows was a cartoon doll as well as a stuffed octopus. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Drake’s Bachelor Pad Is Now Complete With Murakami Flower Cushions," 9 Jan. 2018 This standard shrimp cocktail comes in two other varieties as well: coctel de ostion with oyster or coctel de pulpo with octopus. Courtney Dabney, star-telegram, "Pescatarian paradise: It's all about the seafood at this Veracruz-inspired restaurant | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 22 May 2018 Guests start with a house special gin and tonic cocktail, a small bite on a tostadita, and their taco of the day, which may be filled with octopus one day and steak the next. Peter Cheng, Los Angeles Magazine, "Mexican-Food Expert Bill Esparza Has Curated Cruise Excursions That Are a Gastronome’s Dream," 23 Apr. 2018 Like a drunk octopus trying to line dance at his sister's wedding, the Dems are out of step. Fox News, "Greg Gutfeld: As Trump disproves naysayers, they cling to tapes," 28 July 2018 But the real beauties are some of the more inventive dishes, like the Spanish octopus with marcona almond romesco and Basque pepper, or the neptune johnnycake smeared with honey butter, Boston smoked bluefish, and sturgeon caviar. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of octopus

1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for octopus

New Latin Octopod-, Octopus, from Greek oktōpous

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Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

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The first known use of octopus was in 1759

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More Definitions for octopus

octopus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of octopus

: a sea animal that has a soft body and eight long arms
: the flesh of an octopus used as food

octopus

noun
oc·​to·​pus | \ ˈäk-tə-pəs How to pronounce octopus (audio) \
plural octopuses or octopi\ -​tə-​ˌpī \

Kids Definition of octopus

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on octopus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with octopus

Spanish Central: Translation of octopus

Nglish: Translation of octopus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of octopus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about octopus

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