One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A floating colonial coelenterate with a number of polyps and a conspicuous float. It occurs chiefly in warm seas, and bears long tentacles that can inflict painful stings.
Physalia physalis, order Siphonophora, class Hydrozoa
- ‘I wondered just how many stings I could take, as I anxiously scanned the surface for the float sac of a Portuguese man-of-war.’
- ‘Among their more unusual behavior, the octopuses employ a unique defense mechanism by tearing off the tentacles of passing Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish.’
- ‘Weird algae bloomed in the seas, and strange warm-water beasts, such as Portuguese men-of-war and man-eating sharks, were said to be circling our shores.’
- ‘There are about a million reported cases of stings each year - most commonly from jellyfish, and particularly in tropical oceans where the Portuguese man-of-war and box jellyfish are prevalent.’
- ‘Surfers more often encounter free-floating coelenterates such as the true jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war, and box jellyfish.’
- ‘Dilute vinegar is good first aid for box jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings.’
- ‘Or consider the Portuguese man-of-war, a creature that acts like an individual but is actually a huge colony of beings moving as one.’
- ‘It's so hot in Dublin that Portuguese men-of-war are washing ashore.’
- ‘If a Portuguese man-of-war stings you it will be very painful.’
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