Definition of spider in English:



  • 1An eight-legged predatory arachnid with an unsegmented body consisting of a fused head and thorax and a rounded abdomen. Spiders have fangs which inject poison into their prey, and most kinds spin webs in which to capture insects.

    Order Araneae, class Arachnida

    • ‘When they reduce pesticide use, they see a lot more beneficial predatory insects: spiders and parasitic wasps and flies.’
    • ‘They are predators on spiders, mites, millipedes, and other insects.’
    • ‘This occurs in, among other animals, butterflies, spiders, birds, and small mammals.’
    • ‘They feed on other insects and spiders, so they are not really that bad to have around.’
    • ‘Four other people in the area have been poisoned by funnel web spiders since 1992.’
    • ‘It was possible that an insect or a spider had bitten her during that time.’
    • ‘In addition to honey, their diet included scorpions, spiders, insects, mice, lizards, frogs, snakes and fruit, she said.’
    • ‘‘There's a spider in the kitchen,’ Mum told Dad blandly.’
    • ‘This tiny spider is related to the more commonly known, and much larger, tarantulas of the southwestern United States.’
    • ‘We record plants and invertebrates (including weeds, insects, spiders, slugs and snails) in and around the fields, before, during and after the crops are in the ground.’
    • ‘She hesitated, but slowly walked out of the cell, afraid that rats or spiders would brush her feet.’
    • ‘All kinds of small creepy crawlies are eaten including insects, spiders and centipedes.’
    • ‘To survive the winter, they depend on food sources such as berries, spiders, and insects.’
    • ‘The name is misleading, as this spider is native to the Waterloo region.’
    • ‘Some people may be terrified of spiders, dogs or insects.’
    • ‘The book includes information about more than 100 insects, spiders, mites, slugs and earthworms found in the Prairies, and encourages people to live with them in harmony.’
    • ‘In fact, the typical residents of these boxes are other insects and spiders.’
    • ‘Long legged spiders crawled up and down the walls, unafraid of the trespassers.’
    • ‘The full moon shone onto the filthy prison floor revealing spiders, insects, and rats.’
    • ‘They are habitat to countless amphipods, insects, spiders and other organisms.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of arachnids similar or related to spiders, e.g. sea spider, sun spider.
  • 2An object resembling a spider, especially one having numerous or prominent legs or radiating spokes.

    • ‘Especially Dave, who had to feed the scrum, swipe the ball from the back of the black spider, and dive-pass it out to the waiting back line.’
    • ‘Remove with spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.’
    • ‘It was crafted in the shape of a spider, so that its minute legs would curl around her index finger, with tiny ruby eyes.’
    1. 2.1British A set of radiating elastic ties used to hold a load in place on a vehicle.
    2. 2.2 A long-legged rest for a billiard cue that can be placed over a ball without touching it.
  • 3Computing

    another term for crawler (sense 2)
    • ‘This way, your site map will be a valuable resource for anyone who accesses your site, and a useful tool for spiders to find everything that's within.’
    • ‘The search engine spiders take those words and display the best sites that relate to that information.’
    • ‘The same thing applies to forms; spiders can't fill out forms and click ‘submit.’’
    • ‘They usually target comments to old posts, so they won't show up to people reading the latest ones, though search engine spiders will spot them and index them.’
    • ‘The spider captures summaries, which is all the engine searches, which gives you easy breadth, but not depth.’


  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Move in a scuttling manner suggestive of a spider.

    ‘a treecreeper spidered head first down the tree trunk’
    • ‘You see them occasionally: a skier ghosting through trees in total control, a climber spidering up a sheer rock face with ease, a poised surfer rocketing out of a perfect barrel.’
    • ‘Ambitious craggers had been spidering up Baffin's granite for decades, but none had ever looked at the walls with an eye out for skiable lines.’
    • ‘As they spidered their way up the walls, Deuterium Boy sighed.’
    1. 1.1 Form a pattern suggestive of a spider or its web.
      ‘a system of tunnels spider through the district’
      • ‘At the stern, hull plates have fallen away to leave ribs spidering out above the rudder.’
      • ‘In Middlesbrough, where there's one long road spidering into town, most people walk into town on the left-hand pavement, and walk away from town on the left-hand pavement.’
      • ‘When they hit his shield, they spider out making a massive web of rock!’
      • ‘We stepped down a short staircase leading from the hallway's floor, and saw before us a large, concrete room, primitive with its bare, wooden beams, and deep cracks spidering in every direction.’
      • ‘The cylindrically hulled Healy drove up on top of the massive floe until the heft of the boat sent dozens of cracks spidering across the surface.’
      • ‘Age creeps up on all of us, from the first delicate lines spidering around our eyes in our twenties to the heavier frown lines and crow's feet of middle age.’
  • 2Computing

    ‘when the search engines spider your site they'll find all of the pages’
    another term for crawl (sense 4 of the verb)
    • ‘Google says its most refreshed pages are spidered every 15 minutes, with the entire index getting a refresh every 28 days.’
    • ‘Search engines will spider the text near the top of the page, rather than at the bottom.’
    • ‘For prices starting at $20, the company guarantees they'll spider your website every 48 hours for a year.’
    • ‘Within three days of the launch of our site, Google had spidered our main page.’
    • ‘The dataset is also very 'natural', consisting of images spidered from the Internet.’


Late Old English spīthra, from spinnan (see spin).