|1.||any marine annelid worm of the class Polychaeta, having a distinct head and paired fleshy appendages (parapodia) that bear bristles (chaetae or setae) and are used in swimming: includes the lugworms, ragworms, and sea mice|
|2.||of, relating to, or belonging to the class Polychaeta|
|[C19: from New Latin, from Greek polukhaitēs: having much hair; see |
|polychaete or polychete (pŏl'ĭ-kēt') Pronunciation Key
Any of various often brightly colored annelid worms of the class Polychaeta. Each segment of a polychaete has a pair of fleshy appendages that are tipped with bristles (setae), used for swimming or burrowing. Most species of polychaetes live in saltwater, feed on tiny aquatic animals and plants, and range in size from a few millimeters to 3 m (10 ft) in length. Compare oligochaete.