[pri-hen-sil, -sahyl]


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

Nearby words

  1. pregnanetriol,
  2. pregnant,
  3. pregnantly,
  4. preheat,
  5. prehensible,
  6. prehension,
  7. prehistoric,
  8. prehistory,
  9. prehnite,
  10. prehominid

Origin of prehensile

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

Related formspre·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. 2019

Examples from the Web for prehensile

British Dictionary definitions for prehensile



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

Word Origin and History for prehensile



1771, from French préhensile "adapted for grasping" (Buffon), from Latin prehensus, past participle of prehendere "to grasp, to seize," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + -hendere, related to hedera "ivy," via notion of "clinging," and cognate with Greek khandanein "to take in, hold" (see get (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for prehensile


[prē-hĕnsəl, -sīl′]


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

Science definitions for prehensile



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.