tentacle

noun

ten·​ta·​cle ˈten-ti-kəl How to pronounce tentacle (audio)
1
: any of various elongate flexible usually tactile or prehensile processes borne by invertebrate animals chiefly on the head or about the mouth
2
: something that resembles a tentacle especially in or as if in grasping or feeling out
corruption spreading its tentacles
3
: a sensitive hair or emergence on a plant (such as the sundew)
tentacled adjective

Examples of tentacle in a Sentence

The corporation's tentacles are felt in every sector of the industry. the tentacles of organized crime
Recent Examples on the Web No worries—the electronic tentacles attached to your shoulders give a wiggle, indicating that the hottie, mercifully, has glanced your way. Faith Hill, The Atlantic, 15 Apr. 2024 This fun bath octopus by Nuby floats in the water and includes three rings your little one can toss onto the tentacles. Christin Perry, Parents, 29 Mar. 2024 March 28, 2024 The past, and how its tentacles can reach into the future, lies at the heart of many a mystery. Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Mar. 2024 The center of its body is white and slug-like with skinny yellow tentacles branching off. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 27 Mar. 2024 Chef Joel Siegel’s menu has twisted and turned like tentacles since a soft opening began on Valentine’s Day, introducing and tweaking a series of dishes to develop more permanent fixtures. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 4 Mar. 2024 They’ve been observed carrying venomous Portuguese man o’ war tentacles when hunting and use scare tactics to frighten and trick prey. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 Build an evil-looking Baby Groot, complete with sharp teeth and tentacles. Louryn Strampe, WIRED, 3 Feb. 2024 Some jolts of creepiness seem to have been tossed in as random arcana without explanation, notably the leech-like tentacles Noble plugs into his torso for kicks at bath time. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tentacle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin tentāculum, from Latin temptāre, tentāre "to feel, test, examine" + -culum, suffix of instrument (going back to Indo-European *-tlom) — more at tempt

Note: The Latin word was used by linnaeus in the second edition (1740) of Systema naturae and may have been coined by him.

First Known Use

circa 1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tentacle was circa 1762

Dictionary Entries Near tentacle

Cite this Entry

“Tentacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tentacle. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

tentacle

noun
ten·​ta·​cle ˈtent-i-kəl How to pronounce tentacle (audio)
1
: any of various long flexible structures that stick out usually around the head or mouth of an animal (as a jellyfish or sea anemone) and are used especially for feeling or grasping
2
: something that resembles a tentacle especially in or as if in grasping or feeling out
b
: a sensitive hair on a plant
tentacled adjective

Medical Definition

tentacle

noun
ten·​ta·​cle ˈtent-i-kəl How to pronounce tentacle (audio)
: any of various elongate flexible usually tactile or prehensile processes borne by animals chiefly on the head or about the mouth
especially : one of the threadlike processes bearing nematocysts that hang down from the margin of the umbrella of many jellyfishes

More from Merriam-Webster on tentacle

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