Definition of tentacle in English:

tentacle

noun

  • 1A slender, flexible limb or appendage in an animal, especially around the mouth of an invertebrate, used for grasping or moving about, or bearing sense organs.

    • ‘The head projects into a crown of prehensile tentacles - ranging from 8 in the octopus to 80 or 90 in the living nautilus.’
    • ‘At one end of the animal is a mouth surrounded by tentacles.’
    • ‘The tentacles contain harpoon-like stinging capsules called nematocysts that the anemones employ to capture prey and ward off predators.’
    • ‘Beneath their tentacles is a mouth full of teeth the size of fingers.’
    • ‘It is believed that they captured prey with their retractable tentacles and passed it to their mouth where a beak-like jaw tore it into pieces.’
    • ‘The tentacles around the mouth are disposed in concentric circles, usually forming a series of radial lines rather than being alternately arranged.’
    • ‘The squid's tentacles are armed with suckers, each ringed with tiny teeth to help snare prey.’
    • ‘The tip of the snout is expanded into a naked pink disc which supports 22 finger-like tentacles or feelers which give this creature its name.’
    • ‘Older males in particular also have tentacles on the first few spines of their dorsal fins.’
    • ‘Something in the water had wrapped its arms or tentacles around his legs and was dragging him down despite his efforts.’
    • ‘The bud develops its own mouth and set of feeding tentacles but shares a gut, and hence its food, with its parent.’
    • ‘In a group round the mouth were sixteen slender, almost whiplike tentacles, arranged in two bunches of eight each.’
    • ‘These feet are long, thin, flexible tentacles ending in tiny suction cups.’
    • ‘Though fairly simple animals, the tentacles of sea anemones are covered with intricate stinging cells used both for defence and for capturing prey.’
    • ‘These anemone eat small crustaceans, plankton and various tidepool animals that venture into the range of their stinging tentacles.’
    • ‘If we approach carefully, the beautiful patterning on the soft tissues, the slender tentacles and iridescent eye spots can all be observed.’
    • ‘Another tentacle wrapped around her mouth, and her breathing stopped.’
    • ‘A male blanket octopus fills a modified tentacle with sperm, tears it off, presents it to its prospective mates, and then drifts off to certain death.’
    • ‘The feature shared by this group is the lophophore, an unusual feeding appendage bearing hollow tentacles.’
    • ‘It has powerful arms and tentacles, excellent underwater vision, and a razor-sharp beak that easily tears through the flesh of its prey.’
    antenna, horn
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (in a plant) a tendril or a sensitive glandular hair.
      • ‘It was partially obscured by the wilted tentacles of a suspended epiphyte.’
      • ‘Ivy is a particular problem: it can look very attractive, but its tentacles will reach into every crack and damage tiles and brickwork.’
      • ‘The mychorrhizal fungi live on the roots and physically extend the plant's reach for nutrients and water with hairlike tentacles called hyphae.’
      • ‘Under certain conditions the spores grow extravagantly, infiltrating the tree with multitudes of thread-thin tentacles.’
      • ‘Nearby spread the prehistoric-looking tentacles of Welwitschia plants that date from the age of the dinosaurs.’
    2. 1.2 Something resembling a tentacle in shape or flexibility.
      ‘trailing tentacles of vapour’
    3. 1.3usually tentacles An insidious spread of influence and control.
      ‘the Party's tentacles reached into every nook and cranny of people's lives’
      • ‘The tentacles of this organization reach across the nation.’
      • ‘The drought has spread its tentacles deep inside the jungle.’
      • ‘The trade's tentacles continue to reach far and wide.’
      • ‘We are not suggesting that this kind of incident is commonplace in this area as yet, but with crime spreading its tentacles wide out from the capital city, we are all now in danger from this kind of incident.’
      • ‘Over the years, gentrification spread its tentacles north of the river and then the moon villages became a prime real estate target.’
      • ‘But as capitalism spreads its tentacles across the globe this trend is changing.’
      • ‘Corruption has long tentacles that endeavours to reach far.’
      • ‘But elsewhere in the world terrorism has spread its tentacles, leaving heavy tolls in its wake.’
      • ‘In China, 17 percent of the population has yet to hear of AIDS, even as the disease spreads its tentacles there.’
      • ‘Cultural capital, based in most cases on financial capital and class privilege, spreads its tentacles both on the Left and the Right.’
      • ‘A gang who spread the tentacles of their evil drug-dealing ring to York have been warned they face substantial prison sentences.’
      • ‘And they're the most obvious sign of the West's relentless tentacles reaching into Angola today.’
      • ‘The music festival that spreads its diverse tentacles from Aberdeen south to Glasgow and Edinburgh is now in its sixth year.’
      • ‘He soon came back to Wales, to the big War that had started and was spreading its tentacles around the whole of Europe.’
      • ‘Winner takes it all mentality has successfully spread its tentacles deep into our societal fabric and has infiltrated our institutions.’
      • ‘The anticapitalist movement has spread its tentacles into the Middle East through the antiwar movement.’
      • ‘The mystery this film sets up is how far have the tentacles and influence of the rebellion infiltrated the town?’
      • ‘Its transnational tentacles reach into every corner of the globe.’
      • ‘They are giant multinational corporations, with their tentacles spread across the globe.’
      • ‘The bank grew three fold in its network in the '70s and spread its tentacles in seven other states.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: anglicized from modern Latin tentaculum, from Latin tentare, temptare ‘to feel, try’.

Pronunciation

tentacle

/ˈtɛntək(ə)l/