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 tentacle (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 Who said the prosthetic limb needs to look like a hand and not like a tentacle from an octopus? Gary Stix, Scientific American, 19 May 2021 Dady’s version of the omnipresent octopus incorporated olives, potatoes and a chimichurri-style herb sauce called zhoug, all in service to a curled tentacle that presented a range of properly firm and seared textures along its length. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 22 Apr. 2021 Stretch has tentacle-like grippers to hold boxes, and can navigate tight spaces. Brett Harman, CNN, 2 Apr. 2021 The northern arm of the Gulf Stream is but one tentacle of a larger, ocean-spanning tangle of currents called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2021 In each case, Disney threatens to alienate an obscure but vital tentacle of the franchises, as these novelizations helped build and maintain fan loyalty. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, 19 Dec. 2020 Others, like D’Souza, see an opportunity to grow another social-media tentacle with which to grift that base. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 10 Nov. 2020 Then a long, black tentacle reaches down from the sky. National Geographic, 10 Nov. 2020 An Iris van Herpen PVC strapless gown from 2012 with Alien-like appendages curving around the hips and thighs stands beside a cream satin 1951 ball gown from Charles James with the same tentacle-like protrusions on the hips and skirt. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 28 Oct. 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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Learn More About tentacle

Time Traveler for tentacle

Time Traveler

The first known use of tentacle was circa 1762

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Statistics for tentacle

Last Updated

29 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tentacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tentacle. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on tentacle

Nglish: Translation of tentacle for Spanish Speakers


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