spi·​der | \ ˈspī-dər How to pronounce spider (audio) \

Definition of spider

1a : 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.

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2 : a cast-iron frying pan originally made with short feet to stand among coals on the hearth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

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Other Words from spider

spiderish \ ˈspī-​də-​rish How to pronounce spider (audio) \ adjective
spiderlike \ ˈspī-​dər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce spider (audio) \ adjective

Examples of spider in a Sentence

We watched the spider spin its web.
Recent Examples on the Web Others recommend using tongs or a spider to transfer the pasta to a bowl or another pot, safeguarding all of the pasta water. BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Fresh mint shines in this simple dish of angel hair with pecorino," 27 Apr. 2021 The accompanying music video — set in a murky hotel where Jackson stalks her assumed ex with a baseball bat in hand, eating a spider, zombies summoned to her cause — advances a twilight that stands out from the rest of the album. Kovie Biakolo, Vulture, "Janet Jackson’s All for You Was a Reawakening," 24 Apr. 2021 Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and set a spider strainer next to it. Los Angeles Times, "How to prepare fresh fava beans for cooking," 22 Apr. 2021 There’s a larger-than-life spider family made from various types of wood, to represent diverse families of City Heights. San Diego Union-Tribune, "An empty lot in San Diego’s City Heights becomes temporary sculpture gallery," 22 Apr. 2021 The marque’s first series-production cars were introduced in 1954, with the Giulietta (Tipo 750 and, later, the Tipo 101) in coupe, spider and sedan form, as well as numerous specials. Robert Ross, Robb Report, "Car of the Week: How the Giulietta Sprint Speciale Helped Sculpt Alfa Romeo’s Legacy," 19 Apr. 2021 For a spider, the various frequencies of different vibrations are as perceptible as colors or notes on a piano. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Researchers Turn Spider Webs Into Music," 14 Apr. 2021 Somehow my spider lair-invading friend was the only one of us to survive. Elise Favis, Washington Post, "Accessibility option in survival game ‘Grounded’ turns my arachnophobia into a thrill," 30 July 2020 And now, a researcher at Piedmont University in Georgia determined that the four male spiders are members of a new species called the Pine Rockland trapdoor spider, named for the forest surrounding Zoo Miami and the way the spiders hunt. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, "Mystery over four spiders found in Miami is solved: It’s an entirely new species," 19 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spider.' 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 spider

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

History and Etymology for spider

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

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Time Traveler for spider

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spider

Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spider. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for spider



English Language Learners Definition of spider

: a small creature that has eight legs and usually creates a web of sticky threads in which it catches insects for food


spi·​der | \ ˈspī-dər How to pronounce spider (audio) \

Kids Definition of spider

1 : a wingless animal that is somewhat like an insect but has eight legs instead of six and a body divided into two parts instead of three and that often spins threads of silk into webs for catching prey
2 : a cast-iron frying pan


spi·​der | \ ˈspīd-ər How to pronounce spider (audio) \

Medical Definition of spider

1 : 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
2 : spider nevus an arterial spider
3 : 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

Nglish: Translation of spider for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spider for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spider

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