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

These icy-white tendrils would stretch out for millions of miles, like hair radiating from Earth. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "A stunning solar eclipse visits the moon Wednesday during the lunar eclipse on Earth," 30 Jan. 2018 Picking, strumming, scrubbing quick rhythm chords or tangling little tendrils of melody, their parts constantly tease and rewire the songs. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Jupiter & Okwess Turn Congo Turbulence Into Ferocious Grooves," 3 July 2018 There is just one tendril of brain tissue that can be seen from outside the body without any mucking about of this sort. The Economist, "The eye's structure holds information about the health of the mind," 28 June 2018 And once you're done considering the hair tendril, consider the abs: 6. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "The Best Chris Movies Ranked by Overwhelming Hotness," 12 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, back stateside on the West Coast, Selena Gomez paired Oscar de la Renta’s toile two-piece ensemble with a flyaway updo that showcased how breezy bangs and loose tendrils are the solution to heat-proof glamour. Vogue, "The 10 Best Beauty Looks: Week of July 1, 2018," 3 July 2018 This charge eventually finds a path to the ground: a narrow channel of conductive air extending downward from the cloud that meets other delicate electrical tendrils snaking up from the ground. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "A Crash Course in Summer Thunderstorms," 27 June 2018 The tendrils that clung to the opposite wall had been a gift in the opposite direction. Eric Boodman, STAT, "It’s not ‘all in your head’: When other doctors give up on patients, a boundary-breaking neurologist treats them," 19 June 2018 My favorite is June, a dead girl who can shoot out spiky tendrils, turn invisible, and even throw her decapitated head at opponents. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Pocket Rumble for the Nintendo Switch channels the best portable fighters," 6 July 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

22 Sep 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

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