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

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 And the impressive array of imposing creatures — a tarantula, a scorpion — behind glass but obviously quite alive, inspired squeals of horror and excitement. New York Times, "Francine Prose on Montreal in the Spring: The Time of the Butterflies," 11 June 2018 The venomous but docile tarantula is native to Mexican deserts and scrublands, and is named after its red-orange leg joints. Amy Rankin, National Geographic, "A Tarantula Sheds Its Skin in New Time-Lapse Video," 16 May 2018 Officers found 41 deceased animals, including rabbits, snakes, hermit crabs, tarantulas, hamsters, mice and fish. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Pet store was closed for maintenance. 41 animals were dead inside, Illinois cops say," 30 May 2018 The frame came alive like a giant tarantula, leaving us giddy with the ease of assembly. Melanie D.g. Kaplan, miamiherald, "Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car | Miami Herald," 26 May 2018 Sea Life Arizona Aquarium This aquarium at Arizona Mills in Tempe has an interactive tide pool, a stingray exhibit, ocean view tunnel and a critter canyon with snakes, tarantulas and tortoises. Wendy Killeen, azcentral, "Indoor playgrounds, trampoline parks and places in Phoenix kids can play and stay cool," 24 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tarantula

Statistics for tarantula

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tarantula

The first known use of tarantula was in 1561

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tarantula

Spanish Central: Translation of tarantula

Nglish: Translation of tarantula for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tarantula

Comments on tarantula

What made you want to look up tarantula? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!