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
Recent Examples of tarantula from the Web
This was posted Friday May 26, 2017 by Rodney Hofirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog Crawling through a tunnel full of tarantulas.
During the molting process, tarantulas contract their abdomens, which pushes fluid into the upper body, or cephalothorax.
An exhibit of rare spiders will feature such exotic arachnids as the blue tarantula and the African Baboon spider, as well as the largest species of spider in the world.
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.
Origin and Etymology of tarantula
Medieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola, from Taranto
First Known Use: 1561See Words from the same year
TARANTULA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tarantula for English Language Learners
: a large, hairy spider that lives in warm regions
TARANTULA Defined for Kids
Definition of tarantula for Students
: 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
Medical Definition of tarantula
tarantulae\-ˈran-chə-ˌlē, -ˈrant-əl-ˌē\play play
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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