tarantula

noun
ta·​ran·​tu·​la | \tə-ˈran-chə-lə, -tə-lə;-ˈranch-lə, -ˈrant-\
plural tarantulas also tarantulae\tə-​ˈran-​chə-​ˌlē, -​tə-​ˌlē; -​ˈranch-​ˌlē, -​ˈrant-​ \

Definition of tarantula 

1 : a European wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) popularly held to be the cause of tarantism

2 : any of various large, hairy, American spiders (family Theraphosidae) that are typically rather sluggish and capable of biting sharply though most forms are not significantly poisonous to humans

Examples of tarantula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Kids screamed in terror as a giant tarantula crawled toward a pool over the weekend — but Nicole Kidman remained calm. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Nicole Kidman captures giant tarantula from pool as kids scream in horror: 'Get back, mom!'," 31 July 2018 Wolf spider Wolf spiders are usually confused with tarantulas and brown recluse spiders. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "5 of Michigan's scariest-looking spiders: What to know," 25 June 2018 But Natalie herself was an outdoorsy tomboy, who frequently came home in dirty clothes and kept a pet tarantula in a jar. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 2 Recap: Appearances Are Everything," 16 July 2018 The frame came alive like a giant tarantula, leaving us giddy with the ease of assembly. Melanie D.g. Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car," 21 May 2018 The frame came alive like a giant tarantula, leaving us giddy with the ease of assembly. Melanie D.g. Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car," 21 May 2018 Take your time exploring the more than 23 acres, which are home to everything from a Brazilian tarantula to an Indian rhinoceros. Amy Thomas, New York Times, "36 Hours in Buffalo," 28 June 2018 The frame came alive like a giant tarantula, leaving us giddy with the ease of assembly. Melanie D.g. Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car," 21 May 2018 Who’s from Pixar?: Flik, an ant, and Hopper, a grasshopper, are supplemented by Chili, a tarantula; the Terminte-ator; Weevil Kneevil; the Dung Beetle Brothers; and Claire de Room, a stink bug. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney World: A look at Pixar in the parks," 25 June 2018

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

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tarantula

Medieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola, from Taranto

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Statistics for tarantula

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for tarantula

The first known use of tarantula was in 1561

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More Definitions for tarantula

tarantula

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tarantula

: a large, hairy spider that lives in warm regions

tarantula

noun
ta·​ran·​tu·​la | \tə-ˈran-chə-lə \

Kids Definition of tarantula

: a large hairy spider of warm regions of North and South America whose bite may be painful but is usually not serious to humans except for a few South American species

tarantula

noun
ta·​ran·​tu·​la | \tə-ˈranch-(ə-)lə, -ˈrant-ᵊl-ə \
plural tarantulas also tarantulae\-​ˈran-​chə-​ˌlē, -​ˈrant-​ᵊl-​ˌē \

Medical Definition of tarantula 

1 : a European spider (Lycosa tarentula of the family Lycosidae) popularly held to be the cause of tarantism

2 : any of a family (Theraphosidae) of large hairy American spiders that are typically rather sluggish and capable of biting sharply though most forms are not significantly poisonous to humans

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More from Merriam-Webster on tarantula

Spanish Central: Translation of tarantula

Nglish: Translation of tarantula for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tarantula

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