One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An anthozoan coral of the subclass Octocoralliae (formerly called Octactinia) whose polyps bear eight pinnate tentacles.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in George Rolleston (1829–1881), physician and physiologist. From scientific Latin Octactiniae, former subclass name (C. G. Ehrenberg Die Corallenthiere des Rothen Meeres 53; from ancient Greek ὀκτα- + ἄκτιν-, ἀκτίς ray + scientific Latin -iae, plural of -ia) + -an. Compare German Octactinien Octactinia.
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