pl. -·las or -·lae·
- a wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of S Europe, whose bite was popularly but wrongly supposed to cause tarantism
- any of numerous large, hairy spiders with a poisonous bite that usually has little effect on warmblooded animals; specif., any of a family (Theraphosidae) found in the SW U.S. and tropical America
Origin of tarantulaMedieval Latin ; from Italian tarantola ; from Taranto, near which the wolf spider was found
nounpl. ta·ran·tu·las or tarantu·lae
- Any of various large hairy spiders chiefly of the family Theraphosidae, capable of inflicting a bite that is painful but usually not dangerous to humans.
- A large wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of southern Europe, once thought to cause tarantism.
Origin of tarantulaMedieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola, after Taranto.
(plural tarantulas or tarantulae)