[ pri-hen-sil, -sahyl ]
/ prɪˈhɛn sɪl, -saɪl /


adapted for seizing, grasping, or taking hold of something: a prehensile tail.
able to perceive quickly; having keen mental grasp.
greedy; grasping; avaricious.

Origin of prehensile

1781–85; < French préhensile (coined by Buffon), equivalent to Latin prehens(us) (see prehension) + French -ile -ile


pre·hen·sil·i·ty [pree-hen-sil-i-tee] /ˌpri hɛnˈsɪl ɪ ti/, nounnon·pre·hen·sile, adjectivesub·pre·hen·sile, adjectivesub·pre·hen·sil·i·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for prehensile

British Dictionary definitions for prehensile

/ (prɪˈhɛnsaɪl) /


adapted for grasping, esp by wrapping around a supporta prehensile tail

Derived forms of prehensile

prehensility (ˌpriːhɛnˈsɪlɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for prehensile

C18: from French préhensile, from Latin prehendere to grasp
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

Medical definitions for prehensile

[ prē-hĕnsəl, -sīl′ ]


Adapted for seizing, grasping, or holding, especially by wrapping around an object.

Other words from prehensile

pre′hen•sili•ty (-sĭlĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for prehensile

[ prē-hĕnsəl ]

Adapted for seizing, grasping, or holding, especially by wrapping around an object. The feet of many birds, the tails of monkeys, and the trunks of elephants are prehensile.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.