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 Each dodder begins its life as a seed that sprouts one anchoring root into the ground and then sends another tendril into the air. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Parasitic Plant Waits for Host’s Signal Before Flowering," 9 Sep. 2020 In any case, economists say the vast federal spending plan can, at best, limit the damage — and may not even be enough to do that, as the tendrils of the pandemic reach deeper into the American economy. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "A Widening Toll on Jobs: ‘This Thing Is Going to Come for Us All’," 2 Apr. 2020 The violent tendrils, composed mostly of gas and dust, are home to a celestial nursery. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "'Pillars of Creation' Remains Universe's No. 1 Tourist Attraction," 14 Apr. 2020 This came into play unexpectedly when I was recently forwarded an email out of the blue from someone along a tendril network of friends that every New Yorker cultivates over time. Seldon Yuan, Quartz, "How to make medical-grade face shields at home for healthcare workers," 18 Apr. 2020 Most of the rest form a single shape coming off it, like a tendril. Quanta Magazine, "Rainbow Proof Shows Graphs Have Uniform Parts," 19 Feb. 2020 In late December, the beauty influencer posted a glam photo of himself with a white bathrobe hanging off his shoulders, while wearing a smokey eye and tendrils framing his face. Katie Intner, PEOPLE.com, "James Charles Recreates Kylie Jenner’s Sexy Instagram Photoshoot: '2 Can Play at This Game'," 22 Jan. 2020 In a vapid moment of scrolling through the news on my phone, my son peeked over my shoulder to see a picture of that spongy ball and its stubby little tendrils. Kyle Whitmire, al, "What I’ll take from the quarantine: My daughter’s first steps," 30 Mar. 2020 With startling speed, the coronavirus pandemic has extended its tendrils into the halls of power around the world. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, "The coronavirus pandemic makes inroads into the highest echelons of world politics," 13 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tendril

Time Traveler

The first known use of tendril was in 1538

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Statistics for tendril

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tendril.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tendril. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for tendril


How to pronounce tendril (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tendril

Nglish: Translation of tendril for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tendril

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