[ten-tuh-kuh l]


Zoology. any of various slender, flexible processes or appendages in animals, especially invertebrates, that serve as organs of touch, prehension, etc.; feeler.
Botany. a sensitive filament or process, as one of the glandular hairs of the sundew.

Origin of tentacle

1755–65; < New Latin tentāculum, equivalent to Latin tentā(re) (variant of temptāre to feel, probe) + -culum -cule2
Related formsten·tac·u·lar [ten-tak-yuh-ler] /tɛnˈtæk yə lər/, adjectiveten·ta·cle·like, ten·tac·u·loid, adjectivein·ter·ten·tac·u·lar, adjectivesub·ten·tac·u·lar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tentacle

Contemporary Examples of tentacle

Historical Examples of tentacle

  • The tentacle disappeared into the mass of the baffled hunter.

  • Then he baited his two hooks with bits of tentacle and threw them overboard.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • First one tentacle, then another, and finally one is pulled under and devoured.


    Stephen French Whitman

  • He raised a tentacle to still Crownwall's immediate exclamation of protest.


    L. J. Stecher

  • Where was that spot to which the tentacle of the monster could not reach?

    The Octopus

    Frank Norris

British Dictionary definitions for tentacle



any of various elongated flexible organs that occur near the mouth in many invertebrates and are used for feeding, grasping, etc
any of the hairs on the leaf of an insectivorous plant that are used to capture prey
something resembling a tentacle, esp in its ability to reach out or grasp
Derived Formstentacled, adjectivetentacle-like or tentaculoid (tɛnˈtækjʊˌlɔɪd), adjectivetentacular (tɛnˈtækjʊlə), adjective

Word Origin for tentacle

C18: from New Latin tentāculum, from Latin tentāre, variant of temptāre to feel
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 tentacle

1762, from Modern Latin tentaculum "feeler," from Latin tentare "to feel, try" (variant of temptare "to feel, try, test") + -culum, diminutive suffix.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tentacle




An elongated, flexible, unsegmented extension, as one of those surrounding the mouth or oral cavity of the squid, used for feeling, grasping, or locomotion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for tentacle



A narrow, flexible, unjointed part extending from the body of certain animals, such as an octopus, jellyfish, or sea anemone. Tentacles are used for feeling, grasping, or moving.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.