ten·​dril | \ˈten-drəl \

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 \ adjective
tendrilous \ˈten-​drə-​ləs \ adjective

Examples of tendril in a Sentence

A few tendrils of hair framed her face.

Recent Examples on the Web

Her signature tendrils also appeared to be much blunter, reaching only to her chin: Cosmopolitan suggests that Meghan likely got a secret haircut, much the same way that Princess Diana used to. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Tried to Get a Sneaky Haircut, but the Internet Noticed," 18 Nov. 2018 The versatility is the best part: whether her hair is pulled half-back, up in a pony, or down and flowing, her face-framing layers manage to skirt the look of prom-y tendrils. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "I'm Lowkey Stalking Dakota Johnson's Hair," 12 Oct. 2018 But the star of the show is her brand-new fringe: thick-yet-wispy face-framing bangs that get shorter in the center of her forehead and lengthen out to Meghan Markle-esque tendrils by her ears. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Jennifer Lopez Now Has Wispy, Parted Bangs," 29 Oct. 2018 The 36-year-old's hair was styled by Serge Normant in a low chignon with a middle part and face framing tendrils. Fox News, "Meghan Markle stuns in Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy at royal wedding," 22 May 2018 To garnish and serve: Meanwhile, pour ¼ cup whole Sichuan peppercorns into a separate dry wok or saute pan and stir them over medium heat until the seeds start to pop and send out fine tendrils of fragrant smoke. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Mapo Doufu," 27 Mar. 2018 The bun was low and securely pinned to the nape of her neck, her hair was parted right down the middle, and a few face-framing tendrils were loosely curled and left free to add movement and soften the look. Andrea Park, Allure, "Meghan Markle Wears A Bun that Looks Just Like Her Wedding Hair," 3 Oct. 2018 A few of the tendrils stretched out toward him, sensing him. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A transgender girl rises up against alien invaders in Rich Larson’s novel Annex," 8 July 2018 Now, however, the River Test runs slowly, its chalk beds pale through the cold, clear water, its banks groomed, sculpted; water plants’ tendrils wave gently in the currents. Peter Rock, New York Times, "On the Unsettling Allure of ‘Watership Down’," 15 May 2018

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

15 Dec 2018

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 \

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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to make faulty or ineffective

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