[ ok-tuh-puhs ]
See synonyms for octopus on Thesaurus.com
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. 2023

How to use octopus in a sentence

  • A good many jelly-fish are thrown up; some gelatinous animals of a large size perhaps were octopi.

    Wintering in the Riviera | William Miller
  • Huge Assam rubber-trees have exposed roots suggesting a tangle of octopi.

    East of Suez | Frederic Courtland Penfield
  • Crabs were broiling upon it, and the pieces of the feke were flung beside them and the smaller octopi.

  • Polpi alla Luciana are small octopi stewed in an earthern pot with oil, tomatoes, chilli, and red wine.

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

British Dictionary definitions for octopus


/ (ˈɒktəpəs) /

nounplural -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

  1. another name for spider (def. 8)

Origin of octopus

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