[ muh-doo-suh, -zuh, -dyoo- ]
/ məˈdu sə, -zə, -ˈdyu- /

noun, plural me·du·sas, me·du·sae [muh-doo-see, -zee, -dyoo-] /məˈdu si, -zi, -ˈdyu-/. Zoology.

a saucer-shaped or dome-shaped, free-swimming jellyfish or hydra.

Origin of medusa

1750–60; special use of Medusa, alluding to the Gorgon's snaky locks


me·du·soid [muh-doo-soid, -dyoo-] /məˈdu sɔɪd, -ˈdyu-/, adjective

Definition for medusa (2 of 2)

[ muh-doo-suh, -zuh, -dyoo- ]
/ məˈdu sə, -zə, -ˈdyu- /

noun, plural Me·du·sas. Classical Mythology.

the only mortal of the three Gorgons. She was killed by Perseus, and her head was mounted upon the aegis of Zeus and Athena.

Origin of Medusa

< Latin < Greek Médousa, special use of médousa, feminine of médōn ruling Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for medusa

British Dictionary definitions for medusa (1 of 2)

/ (mɪˈdjuːzə) /

noun plural -sas or -sae (-ziː)

Also called: medusoid, medusan one of the two forms in which a coelenterate exists. It has a jelly-like umbrella-shaped body, is free swimming, and produces gametesCompare polyp

Derived forms of medusa

medusan, adjective

Word Origin for medusa

C18: from the likeness of its tentacles to the snaky locks of Medusa

British Dictionary definitions for medusa (2 of 2)

/ (mɪˈdjuːzə) /


Greek myth a mortal woman who was transformed by Athena into one of the three Gorgons. Her appearance was so hideous that those who looked directly at her were turned to stone. Perseus eventually slew herSee also Pegasus 1

Derived forms of Medusa

Medusan, adjective
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

Science definitions for medusa

[ mĭ-dōōsə ]

Plural medusas medusae (mĭ-dōō)

A cnidarian in its free-swimming stage. Medusas are bell-shaped, with tentacles hanging down around a central mouth. Jellyfish are medusas, while corals and sea anemones lack a medusa stage and exist only as polyps. Compare polyp.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for medusa

[ (mi-dooh-suh, mi-dooh-zuh) ]

The best known of the monster Gorgons of classical mythology; people who looked at her would turn to stone. A hero, Perseus, was able to kill Medusa, aiming his sword by looking at her reflection in a highly polished shield.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.