Definition of Portuguese man-of-war in US English:

Portuguese man-of-war


  • 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

    • ‘It's so hot in Dublin that Portuguese men-of-war are washing ashore.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If a Portuguese man-of-war stings you it will be very painful.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Surfers more often encounter free-floating coelenterates such as the true jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war, and box jellyfish.’
    • ‘Among their more unusual behavior, the octopuses employ a unique defense mechanism by tearing off the tentacles of passing Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish.’


Portuguese man-of-war

/ˈpɔrtʃəˌɡiz mæn əv/