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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Make sure that the tentacles and other pieces do not overlap, to prevent them from cooking unevenly. Dallas News, "Sous vide school: 3 top Dallas chefs teach us how to cook chicken, steak and even octopus," 20 Aug. 2019 There are also brief scenes of massive tentacles attacking Pattinson and a mysterious mermaid-like creature, suggest our leading men will have more to deal with than just bad storms. Zoya Ansari And Brian Ries, CNN, "'The Lighthouse' trailer shows Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson's creepy descent into madness," 30 July 2019 In contrast to age-old rings and tentacles, Fellow slices thick calamari steaks into tender batons, encased in a battered shell both crunchy and light — deftly executed and served with mint aioli or romesco, depending on the season. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Fellow Osteria in Scottsdale is too interesting to ignore but too inconsistent to embrace," 16 July 2019 Then split the body into individual tentacles and remove the beak. Dallas News, "Sous vide school: 3 top Dallas chefs teach us how to cook chicken, steak and even octopus," 20 Aug. 2019 The caramelized tentacles of the squid were crunchy outside and silky inside; the swordfish was impossibly juicy. Seth Kugel, New York Times, "A Whirlwind, Round-the-World Food Tour of Queens," 1 July 2019 The latest series returns to its loner, neo-Gothic roots, so to speak, with dark magic baddies and creeping tentacles everywhere, as well as a supernatural subplot featuring one of DC’s most obscure vigilantes — Blue Devil. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Superheroes behaving badly: 12 crusading TV series target mature audiences," 4 Aug. 2019 Then a protrusion — an arm, a leg, or perhaps a tentacle — pops out. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Relax: That viral video of 'zombie chicken' crawling off a plate isn't chicken (probably)," 26 July 2019 Donovan also notes that Kennedy's assassination in Dallas gave flight to a conspiracy movement whose tentacles now extend to all sorts of wacky imaginings. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Dallas author warns about Apollo 11 moon landing hoax theories, but says we can and will go back," 16 July 2019

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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tentacle

Statistics for tentacle

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tentacle

The first known use of tentacle was circa 1762

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tentacle

Spanish Central: Translation of tentacle

Nglish: Translation of tentacle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on tentacle

What made you want to look up tentacle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!