noun, plural octopuses, octopi [ok-tuh-pahy] .
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.

1750–60; < Neo-Latin < Greek oktṓpous (plural oktṓpodes) eight-footed; see octo-, -pod

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World English Dictionary
octopus (ˈɒktəpəs)
n , pl -puses
1.  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)
2.  a powerful influential organization with far-reaching effects, esp harmful ones
3.  another name for spider
[C18: via New Latin from Greek oktōpous having eight feet]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Gk. oktopous "eight-footed," from okto "eight" (see eight) + pous "foot." Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us is the L.
noun ending that takes -i in plural.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The technology for doing this is demonstrated daily by members of the octopus
  and cuttlefish families.
The mimic octopus can impersonate lots of underwater creatures, including
Scientists have discovered a long-armed octopus that mimics poisonous creatures
  of the sea to avoid its predators.
The saliva of the small blue-ringed octopus contains one of the deadliest
  venoms on the planet.
Image for octopus
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