Definition of tarantula in English:

tarantula

Syllabification: ta·ran·tu·la
Pronunciation: /təˈran(t)SHələ
 
/

noun

1A large hairy spider found chiefly in tropical and subtropical America, some kinds of which are able to catch small lizards, frogs, and birds.
More example sentences
  • The children were given the chance to handle giant snails, snake, frogs, tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes and cockroaches.
  • An evolutionary biologist at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, specializes in trapdoor and funnel-web spiders, and tarantulas.
  • These hot and dry rocky slopes support scorpions, tarantulas, collared lizards, pygmy rattlesnakes, roadrunners, and prickly pear cacti.
2A large black wolf spider of southern Europe whose bite was formerly believed to cause tarantism.
  • Lycosa tarentula, family Lycosidae
More example sentences
  • By means of dancing and sweating, those bitten by tarantulas endeavor to expel the infected vapors.
  • Tarantism, that is, the disease resulting from having been bitten by a tarantula, was well known in southern Europe, and references to it permeated medical literature, music, and folklore for 500 years or more.

Origin

mid 16th century: from medieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola 'tarantula', from the name of the seaport Taranto. Compare with tarantella and tarantism.

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