ten·​dril | \ ˈten-drəl How to pronounce tendril (audio) \

Definition of tendril

1 : a leaf, stipule, or stem modified into a slender spirally coiling sensitive organ serving to attach a climbing plant to its support
2 : something suggestive of a tendril creeping tendrils of fog

Illustration of tendril

Illustration of tendril

tendril 1

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Other Words from tendril

tendriled or tendrilled \ ˈten-​drəld How to pronounce tendrilled (audio) \ adjective
tendrilous \ ˈten-​drə-​ləs How to pronounce tendrilous (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tendril in a Sentence

A few tendrils of hair framed her face.

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s prairie smoke, with crimson buds that expel puffs of wispy seed tendrils. New York Times, "Setting Fires and Restoring an American Landscape," 23 Apr. 2018 Case in point: Markle's own wedding day beauty look, finished off with the same nonchalant texture and face framing tendrils. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Jennifer Lawrence Steals a Page From Meghan Markle’s Spring Beauty Playbook," 19 Apr. 2019 Thrown up, pinned loosely, and intentionally lived-in, these styles are somehow both laissez-faire and reminiscent of the second half of the 19th century, when most women styled their hair into neat updos meticulously accented with curled tendrils. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Modern Victorian Updos Are Taking Over Instagram—Here’s How to Do Them Right," 13 Mar. 2019 Maybe that's why Ai Tre Scalini seems to be disguised, with tendrils of ivy and a discreet glow draping its entrance. Maresa Manara, Condé Nast Traveler, "19 Best Spots for Aperitivo in Rome," 1 Mar. 2018 Instinctively, the amoeba would extend tendrils into the channels to try and get the food. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Single Cell Hints at a Solution to the Biggest Problem in Computer Science," 27 Dec. 2018 While Meghan has rocked several different hairstyles over the years, her signature look has long included short tendrils which loosely frame her face. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Tried to Get a Sneaky Haircut, but the Internet Noticed," 18 Nov. 2018 Artist Salvador Dalí bought this place in 1930 as a single fisherman’s hut, expanding it, absorbing the neighbors’ cabins, and creating a fantastical web of bony corridors that’s like the wandering tendrils of a creature. Gemma Askham, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Barcelona," 4 Mar. 2018 Sometimes Prometheus even passes through the ring, leaving streamers and tendrils of icy dust in its wake. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Cassini Spacecraft Begins Ring-Grazing Orbits Before Plummeting to Its Doom," 6 Dec. 2016

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

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tendril

probably modification of Middle French tendron bud, cartilage, alteration of Old French tenrum, from Vulgar Latin *tenerumen, from Latin tener tender — more at tender entry 1

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Statistics for tendril

Last Updated

2 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tendril

The first known use of tendril was in 1538

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More Definitions for tendril



English Language Learners Definition of tendril

: the thin stem of a climbing plant that attaches to walls, fences, etc.
: something that is thin and curly


ten·​dril | \ ˈten-drəl How to pronounce tendril (audio) \

Kids Definition of tendril

1 : a slender leafless winding stem by which some climbing plants attach themselves to a support
2 : something that winds like a plant's tendril tendrils of hair

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More from Merriam-Webster on tendril

Spanish Central: Translation of tendril

Nglish: Translation of tendril for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tendril

Comments on tendril

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showing courage and determination

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