- any octopod of the genus Octopus, having a soft, oval body and eight sucker-bearing arms, living mostly at the bottom of the sea.
- something likened to an octopus, as an organization with many forms of far-reaching influence or control.
Origin of octopus
Examples from the Web for octopi
When the climate got him, he was not loath to join in my hunt for octopi.Riviera Towns</p>
Herbert Adams Gibbons
These were octopi, most hideous scavengers of the ocean floor!
And not only octopi—but octopi sheathed in metal-scaled armor!
The choice between the octopi and retreat stared him in the face.
One of the octopi writhed past him and darted onto the depth charge.
- 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)
- a powerful influential organization with far-reaching effects, esp harmful ones
- another name for spider (def. 8)
Word Origin and History for octopi
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.