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[ok-tuh-puh s] /ˈɒk tə pəs/
noun, plural octopuses, octopi
[ok-tuh-pahy] /ˈɒk təˌpaɪ/ (Show IPA)
any octopod of the genus Octopus, having a soft, oval body and eight sucker-bearing arms, living mostly at the bottom of the sea.
something likened to an octopus, as an organization with many forms of far-reaching influence or control.
Origin of octopus
1750-60; < New Latin < Greek oktṓpous (plural oktṓpodes) eight-footed; see octo-, -pod Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for octopi
  • Tide pools allow visitors a close-up view of knobby sea stars, octopi, and anemones.
  • The discovery revealed that these ancient octopi actually had more genetic information than do modern octopi.
  • One thing not mentioned is that squid and octopi have a cupric oxygen exchange mechanism.
  • The area is populated with lobsters, crabs, octopi and groupers.
  • Nocturnal snorkeling brings the nurse sharks, lobsters and crabs out of their hiding places, and octopi become much more active.
  • Rays glide along the sandy bottoms while octopi, starfish, seahorses and crabs cling to the rocks.
  • These areas are thick with tropical fish and other creatures such as octopi, stingrays and crabs.
  • octopi can quickly change shape, color, and texture to blend in to their environment.
  • Mollusks without shells include squid, banana slugs, and octopi.
  • Some fish, such as octopi and squid, thrive in complex and puzzling living areas.
British Dictionary definitions for octopi


noun (pl) -puses
any cephalopod mollusc of the genera Octopus, Eledone, etc, having a soft oval body with eight long suckered tentacles and occurring at the sea bottom: order Octopoda (octopods)
a powerful influential organization with far-reaching effects, esp harmful ones
another name for spider (sense 8)
Word Origin
C18: via New Latin from Greek oktōpous having eight feet
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 octopi



1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Greek oktopous, literally "eight-footed," from okto "eight" (see eight) + pous "foot" (see foot (n.)). Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us in this word is the Latin noun ending that takes -i in plural.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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