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

Kyle Mulinder was kayaking off the coast of Kaikoura, on New Zealand’s South Island, Daily Mail reports, when the playful seal came out of the water and hit him in the face with an octopus tentacle. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Seal slaps kayaker with octopus in funny video: 'What just happened?'," 27 Sep. 2018 When Baby calls Doc from a pay phone, there are purposeful graffiti tentacles around him. Dana Schwartz, Marie Claire, "17 Easter Eggs You Probably Missed in 'Baby Driver'," 1 Aug. 2017 When Eddie is being chased by Drake’s henchman, Venom takes over, causing cars to crash with his sinewy, symbiotic tentacles, and even serving as a bulletproof shield when necessary. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Venom is a bizarre and baffling mess," 3 Oct. 2018 When spring rains come, the brown gall grows orange tentacles that will release thousands of tiny fungus spores into the air. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Orange growths on juniper trees signal cedar-apple rust," 30 May 2018 Some corals even seem to investigate the oil with their tentacles. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "This Coral Must Die," 25 June 2018 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

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

9 Dec 2018

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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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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

Comments on tentacle

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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