Definition of prehensile
1 : adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around prehensile tail
2 : gifted with mental grasp or moral or aesthetic perception
prehensilityplay \(ˌ)prē-ˌhen-ˈsi-lə-tē\ noun
prehensile was our Word of the Day on 05/09/2007. Hear the podcast!
Examples of prehensile in a Sentence
The monkey has a prehensile tail.
The elephant has a prehensile trunk.
Did You Know?
You may be familiar with "prehensile" from the animal world: monkeys have prehensile tails, elephants have prehensile trunks, giraffes have prehensile tongues, etc. But can you comprehend where this word comes from? Can you apprehend its derivation? The Latin verb prehendere, meaning "to seize or grasp," is the ancestor of a number of English terms, including "comprehend," "apprehend," and "prehensile." "Prehensile" came into English in the 1780s via French préhensile, from Latin prehensus, the past participle of "prehendere."
Origin and Etymology of prehensile
French préhensile, from Latin prehensus, past participle of prehendere to seize — more at get
First Known Use: circa 1785
PREHENSILE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of prehensile for English Language Learners
: capable of grabbing or holding something by wrapping around it
PREHENSILE Defined for Kids
Definition of prehensile for Students
: capable of grasping something by wrapping around it Some monkeys have a prehensile tail.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up prehensile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).