prehensile

adjective pre·hen·sile \ prē-ˈhen(t)-səl , -ˈhen-ˌsī(-ə)l \

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

prehensility

play \(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

  1. The monkey has a prehensile tail.

  2. The elephant has a prehensile trunk.

Recent Examples of prehensile from the Web

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

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


PREHENSILE Defined for English Language Learners

prehensile

adjective

Definition of prehensile for English Language Learners

  • : capable of grabbing or holding something by wrapping around it


PREHENSILE Defined for Kids

prehensile

adjective pre·hen·sile \ prē-ˈhen-səl \

Definition of prehensile for Students

:capable of grasping something by wrapping around it
  • Some monkeys have a prehensile tail.

Medical Dictionary

prehensile

adjective pre·hen·sile \ prē-ˈhen(t)-səl , -ˈhen-ˌsīl \

medical Definition of prehensile

:adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around
  • prehensile tail

prehensility

play \(ˌ)prē-ˌhen-ˈsil-ət-ē\ noun plural -ties


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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!