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[ten-tuh-kuh l] /ˈtɛn tə kəl/
Zoology. any of various slender, flexible processes or appendages in animals, especially invertebrates, that serve as organs of touch, prehension, etc.; feeler.
Botany. a sensitive filament or process, as one of the glandular hairs of the sundew.
1755-65; < New Latin tentāculum, equivalent to Latin tentā(re) (variant of temptāre to feel, probe) + -culum -cule2
Related forms
[ten-tak-yuh-ler] /tɛnˈtæk yə lər/ (Show IPA),
tentaclelike, tentaculoid, adjective
intertentacular, adjective
subtentacular, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tentacle
  • The flea jump is more constrained in direction than frog tongue strikes, squid tentacle strikes or spider predatory jumps.
  • Find more squid info than you can shake a tentacle at.
  • Though it was missing a tentacle, the squid doesn't look to have been attacked, he added.
  • Some sort of tentacle with small suckers might meet the same needs as hands with fingers.
  • We witnessed a pretty impressive mix of ominous foreshadowing and hot alien tentacle action.
  • They charge you with defending the realm from all things supernatural and tentacle-y, and you think, well that could be exciting.
  • Each tentacle is armed with stinging cells called nematocysts.
British Dictionary definitions for tentacle


any of various elongated flexible organs that occur near the mouth in many invertebrates and are used for feeding, grasping, etc
any of the hairs on the leaf of an insectivorous plant that are used to capture prey
something resembling a tentacle, esp in its ability to reach out or grasp
Derived Forms
tentacled, adjective
tentacle-like, tentaculoid (tɛnˈtækjʊˌlɔɪd) adjective
tentacular (tɛnˈtækjʊlə) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin tentāculum, from Latin tentāre, variant of temptāre to feel
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 tentacle

1762, from Modern Latin tentaculum "feeler," from Latin tentare "to feel, try" (variant of temptare "to feel, try, test") + -culum, diminutive suffix.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tentacle in Medicine

tentacle ten·ta·cle (těn'tə-kəl)
An elongated, flexible, unsegmented extension, as one of those surrounding the mouth or oral cavity of the squid, used for feeling, grasping, or locomotion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tentacle in Science
A narrow, flexible, unjointed part extending from the body of certain animals, such as an octopus, jellyfish, or sea anemone. Tentacles are used for feeling, grasping, or moving.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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