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

    • ‘She hesitated, but slowly walked out of the cell, afraid that rats or spiders would brush her feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Long legged spiders crawled up and down the walls, unafraid of the trespassers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘There's a spider in the kitchen,’ Mum told Dad blandly.’
    • ‘Some people may be terrified of spiders, dogs or insects.’
    • ‘When they reduce pesticide use, they see a lot more beneficial predatory insects: spiders and parasitic wasps and flies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are predators on spiders, mites, millipedes, and other insects.’
    • ‘This occurs in, among other animals, butterflies, spiders, birds, and small mammals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In addition to honey, their diet included scorpions, spiders, insects, mice, lizards, frogs, snakes and fruit, she said.’
    • ‘All kinds of small creepy crawlies are eaten including insects, spiders and centipedes.’
    • ‘It was possible that an insect or a spider had bitten her during that time.’
    • ‘Four other people in the area have been poisoned by funnel web spiders since 1992.’
    • ‘In fact, the typical residents of these boxes are other insects and spiders.’
    • ‘They feed on other insects and spiders, so they are not really that bad to have around.’
    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.

    • ‘It was crafted in the shape of a spider, so that its minute legs would curl around her index finger, with tiny ruby eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    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)
    • ‘The spider captures summaries, which is all the engine searches, which gives you easy breadth, but not depth.’
    • ‘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 same thing applies to forms; spiders can't fill out forms and click ‘submit.’’
    • ‘The search engine spiders take those words and display the best sites that relate to that information.’
    • ‘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.’


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

    ‘a treecreeper spidered head first down the tree trunk’
    • ‘As they spidered their way up the walls, Deuterium Boy sighed.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Form a pattern suggestive of a spider or its web.
      ‘a system of tunnels spider through the district’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the stern, hull plates have fallen away to leave ribs spidering out above the rudder.’
  • 2Computing

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


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