ten·ta·cle | \ˈten-ti-kəl \

Definition of tentacle 

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)

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Other Words from tentacle

tentacled \ˈten-ti-kəld \ 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

All sorts of colorful characters swim by—a juvenile jack wedged between the tentacles and bell of a jellyfish for protection, a flying fish harboring a pygmy squid beneath its wing. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "A Nighttime Underwater Spectacle Off the Coast of the Philippines," 3 Apr. 2018 The dumplings are then surrounded by rings and tentacles of squid, spring onions lightly charred and smoky from the wok and glazed with a dressing made from chile oil, black vinegar and light sesame buzzed with Sichuan peppercorns. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Mister Jiu’s fulfills its vision with 3½ stars," 11 Apr. 2018 Up to two-thirds of their length are accounted for by gargantuan feeding tentacles that are tipped with clusters of powerful suckers and deployed against prey and predators alike—and perhaps even their own kin. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Operation Calamari: How the Smithsonian Got Its Giant Squids," 21 June 2018 Image The core elements of the premise — rogue tentacles, prickly villains, a found family and swoon-worthy romances — are familiar to aficionados of genre entertainment. Maureen Ryan, New York Times, "A Cult Show’s Recipe for Success: Whiskey, Twitter and Complex Women," 6 July 2018 One of the tentacles is Vice’s network of international channels, which largely air shows produced in North America. Reeves Wiedeman, Daily Intelligencer, "A Company Built on a Bluff," 10 June 2018 In an earlier image, the majesty of this massive montage of organisms is still obliterated by the crazy mess of orange tentacles swirling under it and by the details Haeckel has crowded around it. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel’ Review: The Zoologist as Artist," 13 Apr. 2018 After its 2014 acquisition of Twitch, a $1 billion gaming-focused live-streaming service, Amazon slowly began attaching its many tentacles to the purple-and-white site. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Twitch Prime’s “free game every day” for half of July adds up to a ton," 3 July 2018 Trying to scrape the tentacles off, for example, can put pressure on the cnidae stuck in your skin causing them to release more venom. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Florida lifeguards treat more than 800 for jellyfish stings. Here's what to do if you get stung.," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tentacle.' 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 tentacle

circa 1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tentacle

New Latin tentaculum, from Latin tentare to feel, touch — more at tempt

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Statistics for tentacle

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tentacle

The first known use of tentacle was circa 1762

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More Definitions for tentacle


ten·ta·cle | \ˈten-tə-kəl \

Kids Definition of tentacle

: one of the long thin flexible parts that stick out around the head or the mouth of an animal (as a jellyfish or sea anemone) and are used especially for feeling or grasping


ten·ta·cle | \ˈtent-i-kəl \

Medical Definition of tentacle 

: 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

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Comments on tentacle

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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