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noun, plural che·lae [kee-lee] /ˈki li/.
  1. the pincerlike organ or claw terminating certain limbs of crustaceans and arachnids.

Origin of chela1

1640–50; < New Latin < Greek chēlḗ claw


  1. (in India) a disciple of a religious teacher.

Origin of chela2

1825–35; < Hindi celā; compare Pali cellaka monk, Prakrit cilla boy, student
Related formsche·la·ship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chela

Historical Examples

  • Chela: The pair of pincers, or claw, which terminates some of the appendages.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • The movable finger of the chela is folded across the extremity of the claw.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • When the upper jaws are furnished at the end with a chela or thumb.

  • Lahiri Mahasaya had appeared to instruct the chela in answer to his prayers.

    Autobiography of a YOGI

    Paramhansa Yogananda

  • And when I was faint with hunger he begged for me, as would a chela for his teacher.


    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for chela


noun plural lae (-liː)
  1. a large pincer-like claw of such arthropods as the crab and scorpion
Derived Formscheliferous (kɪˈlɪfərəs), adjective

Word Origin

C17: New Latin, from Greek khēlē claw


  1. Hinduism a disciple of a religious teacher
Derived Formschelaship, noun

Word Origin

C19: from Hindi celā, from Sanskrit ceta servant, slave
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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