ther·​a·​pho·​sid | \ ˌther-ə-ˈfō-səd How to pronounce theraphosid (audio) , -zəd \

Definition of theraphosid

: of or relating to a family (Theraphosidae) of mygalomorph spiders that comprises the tarantulas (see tarantula sense 1) Theraphosid spiders are formidable opponents and are capable of seizing and killing animals as large or larger than themselves …— Fred Punzo Lifespans of a decade or more have been recorded for captive theraphosid spiders.— Richard Rowe

Other Words from theraphosid

theraphosid noun, plural theraphosids
In cage experiments, it has been shown that within 24 hours, a hungry theraphosid can reduce a mouse to nothing but a hard, dry mass of skin, hair, and bones. — Martin Nyffeler and Richard S. Vetter

First Known Use of theraphosid

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for theraphosid

from the stem of New Latin Theraphosidae, family name, from Theraphosa, a genus (from Greek thēráphion "a kind of insect" —from thḗr "carnivorous animal, beast" + -aphion, diminutive suffix of animals— + New Latin -osa, of uncertain origin) + -idae -idae — more at fierce

Note: The genus name Theraphosa was introduced by the Swedish arachnologist Tamerlan Thorell (1830-1901) in "On European Spiders," Nova acta Regiae Societatis Scientiarum Upsaliensis, Seriei Tertiae vol. VII, fasciculus prior (1869), pp. 162-63. Thorell recycled a taxonomic name used earlier by the French civil servant, author and naturalist Charles Athanase Walckenaer (1771-1852) for a group of spiders including some in the genus Mygale (see note at mygalomorph); Thorell renamed this genus Theraphosa. Walckenaer's taxon Theraphosa (also in the vernacular form Théraphose) was introduced in his Tableau des Aranéïdes (Paris, 1805), p. 2 ff. The suffix -osa is perhaps the feminine of Latin -ōsus "possessing the qualities of" (see -ose entry 1), though the resulting sense of the derivative is unclear.

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The first known use of theraphosid was in 1887

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Cite this Entry

“Theraphosid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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