any of numerous predaceous, chiefly nocturnal arthropods constituting the class Chilopoda, having an elongated, flattened body composed of from 15 to 173 segments, each with a pair of legs, the first pair being modified into poison fangs.

1595–1605; < Latin centipeda. See centi-, -pede

centipedal [sen-tip-i-dl, sen-tuh-peed-l] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
centipede (ˈsɛntɪˌpiːd)
See also myriapod any carnivorous arthropod of the genera Lithobius, Scutigera, etc, having a body of between 15 and 190 segments, each bearing one pair of legs: class Chilopoda

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Word Origin & History

1646, from L. centipeda, from centum "hundred" + pedis, gen. of pes "foot" (see foot).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
centipede   (sěn'tə-pēd')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of various flattened, wormlike arthropods of the class Chilopoda, whose bodies are divided into many segments, each with one pair of legs. The front legs are modified into venomous pincers used to catch prey. Compare millipede.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The cars come, a psychedelic centipede roaring through a corner and accelerating down a straightaway.
Everyone is waiting for the next shoe to drop on this centipede.
The centipede is an invertebrate, or an animal without a spine.
It is clearly the fossil of a prehistoric centipede.
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