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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 tentacles
  • They may come whole, or cleaned and separated into tubes and tentacles.
  • In a group round the mouth were sixteen slender, almost whiplike tentacles, arranged in two bunches of eight each.
  • Bring confidence upon the algae and the tentacles of the soul.
  • Each one has a little cup with a mouth and a ring of tentacles.
  • Lacking a skeleton, the animal can take any number of forms and can move its tentacles in any direction.
  • If using fresh squid, gently pull off the head and tentacles from the body sac.
  • They can manipulate things pretty well with tentacles and suction pads.
  • Dismembered tentacles mope in the attic listening to punk music.
  • When activated it shoots out sticky tentacles which hold on and stretch to absorb kinetic energy.
  • But its speculative tentacles reach deeper, inspiring user-generated music videos as well as songs from superstars.
British Dictionary definitions for tentacles


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 tentacles



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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tentacles 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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tentacles 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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