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

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 In Frida Kahlo’s theater of the self, there’s always more to discover in the intertwined tendrils of her art and life. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "Frida Kahlo Comes to the Brooklyn Museum," 7 Feb. 2019 Today’s cinematic Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa, is a lot cooler, with scaly musculature and tangled, flowing locks that recall the deadly tendrils of a Portuguese man o’ war. Thomas Vinciguerra, WSJ, "I Want to Be Aquaman When I Grow Up . . .," 13 Dec. 2018 The rule is to never curl the tendril, Townsend says. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "I'm Lowkey Stalking Dakota Johnson's Hair," 12 Oct. 2018 The delicate frame of leafy gold tendrils and tiny stylized grape clusters is set with sapphires and green garnets whose colors echo the opals’ shimmering blues and greens, and whose sparkling facets contrast with the smooth opal surfaces. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "‘Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork’ Review: All That Glitters," 28 Nov. 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

21 Apr 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

What made you want to look up tendril? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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