ten·​ta·​cle | \ ˈten-ti-kəl How to pronounce tentacle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tentacled (audio) \ 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 Every culture has their sea myths, from tentacle monsters to cyclops to misogynists lost at sea, but this isn’t your typical Eurocentric mermaid tale. Wired Staff, Wired, "WIRED’s Ultimate Summer Reading List," 2 July 2020 In most jellyfish, stinging cells are part of the tentacles. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, "You Didn’t Touch These Jellyfish, but They Can Sting You With Tiny Grenades," 13 Feb. 2020 From bisexual squid to the many-tentacles of Viktor Orban’s power EVERY YEAR The Economist commissions hundreds of illustrations to accompany articles across the paper and digital editions. The Economist, "The year, illustrated 2019 in review: Ten illustrations that sum up the year," 30 Dec. 2019 The next time your day is a whirlpool of frustrations, grab this wonderful book full of geometric patterns that turn even the tentacles of an octopus into soothing symmetry. Popular Science, "Science-based coloring books for adults and children alike," 15 Oct. 2019 The design features a grey quadropus masquerading as an octopus and suspending cute whales and fish from its tentacles. Popular Science, "Marvelous mobiles for your baby," 15 Mar. 2020 Ndrangheta, a crime syndicate that from the tip of Italy’s boot has extended its tentacles across the globe, and dominates Europe’s cocaine trade. Margherita Stancati, WSJ, "Italian Prosecutor Fights the Mafia—and Fears for His Life," 25 Jan. 2020 As the coronavirus spread its deadly tentacles across Europe earlier this month, the German government announced a ban on exports of surgical face masks. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "Nations Push Back Against a Globalized World," 27 Mar. 2020 India has introduced a Rs1.7 lakh crore ($23 billion) financial stimulus package to battle the coronavirus pandemic spreading its tentacles across the country. Suvojit Chattopadhyay, Quartz India, "India’s $23 billion coronavirus relief package will help only if it reaches those in need," 26 Mar. 2020

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

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.

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Time Traveler for tentacle

Time Traveler

The first known use of tentacle was circa 1762

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Statistics for tentacle

Last Updated

15 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tentacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tentacle. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for tentacle


ten·​ta·​cle | \ ˈten-tə-kəl How to pronounce tentacle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tentacle (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on tentacle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tentacle

Spanish Central: Translation of tentacle

Nglish: Translation of tentacle for Spanish Speakers

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