spi·​der ˈspī-dər How to pronounce spider (audio)
: any of an order (Araneae synonym Araneida) of arachnids having a short, usually unsegmented abdomen linked to the cephalothorax by the pedicel, chelicerae modified into poison fangs, and two or more pairs of spinnerets at the posterior end of the abdomen for spinning threads of silk for various uses (as in making cocoons for their eggs or webs to catch prey)

Note: Spiders are further characterized by leglike pedipalps near the mouth, usually eight simple eyes, and book lungs or tracheae in the abdomen.

: any of various other arthropods and especially arachnids that resemble the true spiders
not used technically
: a cast-iron frying pan originally made with short feet to stand among coals on the hearth
: any of various devices consisting of a frame or skeleton with radiating arms or members
spiderish adjective
spiderlike adjective

Examples of spider in a Sentence

We watched the spider spin its web.
Recent Examples on the Web There are lily pads with human penises, even some water spiders with human penises. Megan Amram, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 Thank you Australia for the beautiful memories (minus the spiders). Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 30 Mar. 2024 But not all pranks are whoopee cushions at board meetings or fake spiders in the Easter casserole. Julia Daye, Miami Herald, 29 Mar. 2024 Though terrifying to people, spiders aren’t always treated with trepidation. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2024 And even if the attorney general succeeds in acquiring Mr. Trump’s real estate, unloading a 60-story skyscraper involves a spider web of transactions. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, 24 Mar. 2024 Traditional farms may deploy toxic chemicals like organophosphates and organochlorines, while organic farms prefer to keep damaging bugs in check by encouraging the growth of their natural enemies, including particular beetles, spiders and birds. Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2024 Store employees remembered seeing a cross tattoo on his left arm, and, on the inside of his wrists, an umbrella and a spider. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2024 Scorpions, American roaches, crickets, spiders and mosquitoes are most common around metro Phoenix. Caralin Nunes, The Arizona Republic, 16 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spider.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English spyder, alteration of spithre; akin to Old English spinnan to spin

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of spider was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near spider

Cite this Entry

“Spider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spider. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


spi·​der ˈspīd-ər How to pronounce spider (audio)
: any of an order of arachnids that have two or more pairs of abdominal organs for spinning threads of silk used in making cocoons for their eggs, nests for themselves, or webs for catching their prey
: a cast-iron frying pan

Medical Definition


spi·​der ˈspīd-ər How to pronounce spider (audio)
: any of an order (Araneae synonym Araneida) of arachnids having a body with two main divisions, four pairs of walking legs, and two or more pairs of abdominal spinnerets for spinning threads of silk used especially in making webs for catching prey
: spider nevus
an arterial spider
: an obstruction in the teat of a cow
especially : a small irregular horny growth resulting from irritation or bruising

More from Merriam-Webster on spider

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