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See more synonyms for centipede on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of numerous predaceous, chiefly nocturnal arthropods constituting the class Chilopoda, having an elongated, flattened body composed of from 15 to 173 segments, each with a pair of legs, the first pair being modified into poison fangs.
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Origin of centipede

From the Latin word centipeda, dating back to 1595–1605. See centi-, -pede
Related formscen·tip·e·dal [sen-tip-i-dl, sen-tuh-peed-l] /sɛnˈtɪp ɪ dl, ˌsɛn təˈpid l/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for centipede

insect, rodent, ant, mosquito, flea, maggot, worm, fly, rat, snake, weasel, termite, lice, bedbug, mice, centipede, caterpillar, entozoon

Examples from the Web for centipede

Historical Examples of centipede

  • You should be a centipede, Hal, instead of that forlorn biped, a bachelor.

    Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 20, August 1877


  • "He saw me walking in the Stad with the Centipede," Greta added.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • Have you swallowed a centipede or has the cramp-colic griped you?

    The Red Acorn

    John McElroy

  • Was the creature a centipede he would hardly have drumsticks to satisfy you!

    Carl and the Cotton Gin

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • And the centipede laughed a cackling laugh and went in again.

British Dictionary definitions for centipede


  1. any carnivorous arthropod of the genera Lithobius, Scutigera, etc, having a body of between 15 and 190 segments, each bearing one pair of legs: class ChilopodaSee also myriapod
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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 centipede


1640s, from French centipède, from Latin centipeda "many-footed insect," from centum "hundred" (see hundred) + pedis, genitive of pes "foot" (see foot (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

centipede in Science


  1. Any of various flattened, wormlike arthropods of the class Chilopoda, whose bodies are divided into many segments, each with one pair of legs. The front legs are modified into venomous pincers used to catch prey. Compare millipede.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.