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

Clown fish, parrotfish, groupers and snappers lay eggs and hide from predators in the reef’s nooks and crannies, and their presence draws eels, sea snakes, octopuses and even sharks. Washington Post, "Surprise rescue of Jamaica coral reefs shows nature can heal," 17 Sep. 2019 The market is well stocked with iced rows of tilapia, octopus and shellfish. Jesse Pearson, Los Angeles Times, "We eat econo: Mike Watt on pork sandwiches, punk rock and the future of San Pedro," 4 Sep. 2019 During my visit, octopus and a garlicky lamb arrived tender and assertively seasoned; a spin on sofrito brightened vegetarian sides. Agatha French, Orange County Register, "Lake Tahoe: The jewel of the Sierras shines bright," 21 Aug. 2019 These sharks typically lie on the ocean bottom, waiting to ambush octopuses and other sea creatures. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This shark glows using a process previously unknown to science," 8 Aug. 2019 Sergio’s Seafood 75th Avenue Market will offer such seafood as clams, oysters, shrimp, octopus and smelts. Pam Defiglio, chicagotribune.com, "Taste of Elmwood Park To Take Place Aug. 8-11," 30 July 2019 The next customers in line wanted the octopus as well; Uh told them I had nabbed the day’s final order of that dish. Los Angeles Times, "Searching for enlightenment at beloved Baroo’s East Hollywood reincarnation," 20 July 2019 This afternoon, old men wilt in a cleft in the rocks, and a schoolgirl hauls a plastic bag heavy with one fat octopus. Antonia Quirke, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Islands Near Sicily Might Be the Last Uncrowded Part of Italy," 22 Aug. 2019 There's a massive storm, what looks like a flood, and an attack by some kind of sea monster (or maybe just an octopus), plus a shot of Winslow lovingly holding a small mermaid sculpture. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "First trailer for The Lighthouse evokes early films from a bygone age," 30 July 2019

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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Statistics for octopus

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for octopus

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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