[ sur-kuh s, ker- ]
/ ˈsɜr kəs, ˈkɛr- /

noun, plural cer·ci [sur-sahy, ker-kee] /ˈsɜr saɪ, ˈkɛr ki/.

one of a pair of appendages at the rear of the abdomen of certain insects and other arthropods, serving as tactile organs.

Nearby words

  1. cerci,
  2. cercis,
  3. cerclage,
  4. cercocystis,
  5. cercopithecoid,
  6. cere,
  7. cerea flexibilitas,
  8. cereal,
  9. cereal leaf beetle,
  10. cerebellar artery

Origin of cercus

1820–30; < New Latin < Greek kérkos tail

Related formscer·cal, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cercal


/ (ˈsɜːkəl) /

adjective zoology

of or relating to a tail
of or relating to the cerci


/ (ˈsɜːkəs) /

noun plural -ci (-siː)

one of a pair of sensory appendages at the tip of the abdomen of some insects and other arthropods

Word Origin for cercus

C19: from New Latin, from Greek kerkos tail

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

Medicine definitions for cercal


[ sûrkəs ]

n. pl. cer•ci (sûrsī, -kī)

A stiff hairlike structure.
Either of a pair of terminal, dorsolateral sensory appendages of certain insects, such as the female mosquito.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.