[ pol-i-keet ]
/ ˈpɒl ɪˌkit /


any annelid of the class Polychaeta, having unsegmented swimming appendages with many setae or bristles.


Also pol·y·chae·tous. belonging or pertaining to the Polychaeta.

Origin of polychaete

1885–90; < New Latin Polychaeta < Greek polychaítēs having much hair. See poly-, chaeta
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for polychaete


/ (ˈpɒlɪˌkiːt) /


any marine annelid worm of the class Polychaeta, having a distinct head and paired fleshy appendages (parapodia) that bear bristles (chaetae or setae) and are used in swimming: includes the lugworms, ragworms, and sea mice

adjective Also: polychaetous

of, relating to, or belonging to the class Polychaeta

Word Origin for polychaete

C19: from New Latin, from Greek polukhaitēs: having much hair; see chaeta
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 polychaete


polychete (pŏlĭ-kēt′)

Any of various often brightly colored annelid worms of the class Polychaeta. Each segment of a polychaete has a pair of fleshy appendages that are tipped with bristles (setae), used for swimming or burrowing. Most species of polychaetes live in saltwater, feed on tiny aquatic animals and plants, and range in size from a few millimeters to 3 m (10 ft) in length. Compare oligochaete.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.