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[an-ten-uh] /ænˈtɛn ə/
noun, plural antennas for 1, antennae
[an-ten-ee] /ænˈtɛn i/ (Show IPA),
for 2.
a conductor by which electromagnetic waves are sent out or received, consisting commonly of a wire or set of wires; aerial.
Zoology. one of the jointed, movable, sensory appendages occurring in pairs on the heads of insects and most other arthropods.
Origin of antenna
1640-50; < Latin: a sailyard
Related forms
antennal, adjective
postantennal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for antennas
  • Radio waves have broadcast information to tiny antennas for decades.
  • For technical reasons, they had to track them with hand-held and helicopter-mounted antennas.
  • In this day and age, fewer and fewer people are relying on antennas anyway.
  • Such a delay might also avoid a spate of homeowners sliding off icy rooftops as they struggle to install new antennas.
  • Discover how the antennas work and how the huge instruments are moved around to collect information.
  • Tracking was done from tall, rotatable antennas atop sheer hills.
  • None more so than designing antennas for mobile phones.
  • When folded down, the antennas not only lock the case and but also seal off its various ports.
  • Another is to use antennas designed to shunt energy away from sensitive components, and to direct it towards the ground.
  • And locations of mobile phone antennas are usually at places with lot of traffic.
British Dictionary definitions for antennas


(pl) -nae (-naɪ). one of a pair of mobile appendages on the heads of insects, crustaceans, etc, that are often whiplike and respond to touch and taste but may be specialized for swimming or attachment
(pl) -nas another name for aerial (sense 7)
Derived Forms
antennal, antennary, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: sail yard, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for antennas

nativized plural of antenna; see -ae.



1640s, "feeler or horn of an insect," from Latin antenna "sail yard," the long yard that sticks up on some sails, of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *temp- "to stretch, extend." In the etymological sense, it is a loan-translation of Aristotle's Greek keraiai "horns" (of insects). Modern use in radio, etc., for "aerial wire" is from 1902. Adjectival forms are antennal (1834), antennary (1836), antennular (1858).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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antennas in Science
  1. One of a pair of long, slender, segmented appendages on the heads of insects, centipedes, millipedes, and crustaceans. Most antennae are organs of touch, but some are sensitive to odors and other stimuli.

  2. A metallic device for sending or receiving electromagnetic waves, such as radio waves. Some antennas can send waves in or receive waves from all directions; others are designed to work only in a range of directions.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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