Tarantula definition

tə-rănchə-lə
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.
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A large wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of southern Europe, once thought to cause tarantism.
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A wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of S Europe, whose bite was popularly but wrongly supposed to cause tarantism.
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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.
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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.
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A large wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of southern Europe, once thought to cause tarantism.
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A species of wolf spider, Lycosa tarentula.
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A "true tarantula", consisting of large, hairy spiders comprising the family Theraphosidae.
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A member of several other groups of spiders, generally characterized by large size, hairiness, or close relation to family Theraphosidae.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
tarantula
Plural:
tarantulae, tarantulas

Origin of tarantula

  • Medieval Latin from Old Italian tarantola after Taranto

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Via Medieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola, named after Taranto, a seaport in southern Italy; from Latin Tarentum, from Ancient Greek Τάρᾱς (Tarās) Tarās; compare Modern Greek: Τάραντας (Tárantas) Tarantas; Tarantino "Tarde;" ultimately from Illyrian darandos, "oak."

    From Wiktionary