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octopus

[ok-tuh-puh s]
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noun, plural oc·to·pus·es, oc·to·pi [ok-tuh-pahy] /ˈɒk təˌpaɪ/.
  1. any octopod of the genus Octopus, having a soft, oval body and eight sucker-bearing arms, living mostly at the bottom of the sea.
  2. something likened to an octopus, as an organization with many forms of far-reaching influence or control.

Origin of octopus

1750–60; < New Latin < Greek oktṓpous (plural oktṓpodes) eight-footed; see octo-, -pod
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for octopi

Historical Examples

  • When the climate got him, he was not loath to join in my hunt for octopi.

    Riviera Towns

    Herbert Adams Gibbons

  • The choice between the octopi and retreat stared him in the face.

  • And not only octopi—but octopi sheathed in metal-scaled armor!

  • These were octopi, most hideous scavengers of the ocean floor!

  • He had brought the NX-1 directly in line with the octopi ship.


British Dictionary definitions for octopi

octopus

noun plural -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 (def. 8)

Word Origin

C18: via New Latin from Greek oktōpous having eight feet
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

Word Origin and History for octopi

octopus

n.

1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Greek oktopous, literally "eight-footed," from okto "eight" (see eight) + pous "foot" (see foot (n.)). Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us in this word is the Latin noun ending that takes -i in plural.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper