Definition of antenna in English:

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Pronunciation: /anˈtɛnə/

noun (plural antennae /anˈtɛniː/)

1 Zoology Either of a pair of long, thin sensory appendages on the heads of insects, crustaceans, and some other arthropods: bugs use their antennae to detect blood heat
More example sentences
  • Lurking in these holes, the ants grab the legs and antennae of unsuspecting insects.
  • In these fossils, detail of legs, antennae, wings, and even small body hairs are preserved.
  • The only appendages that all crustaceans have in common is two pairs of antennae.
1.1 (antennae) The faculty of instinctively detecting and interpreting subtle signs: he has the political antennae of a party whip
More example sentences
  • Though social barriers may have been lowered, our social antennae have not.
  • Abu Mustafa, whose antennae were particularly sensitive, said he didn't think it was a wonderful idea.
  • The subliminal message would have registered on the sensitive antennae of bible belt America, while agnostics would have noticed nothing.
2 (plural also antennas) chiefly North American or technical another term for aerial. a TV antenna
More example sentences
  • The interference involves a number of television antennas often used on boats.
  • Avoid contact with power lines connected to the house and with television antennas.
  • A closer look reveals unusual devices on its roof - satellite antennas to receive signals from space.



Example sentences
  • A male would confront a female and attempt to grasp the female's antennae with its antennal clamps.
  • Moreover, a substantial proportion of the surviving hybrid males, but not the hybrid females, have antennal and leg deformities when reared under standard laboratory conditions at 29°.
  • Any one morphological structure in insects is usually highly polygenic, but still no morphological systematist today would think of proposing a phylogeny solely on the basis of a wing vein or an antennal segment.




Mid 17th century: from Latin, alteration of antemna 'yard' (of a ship), used in the plural to translate Greek keraioi 'horns (of insects)', used by Aristotle.

  • On old Mediterranean sailing ships certain types of triangular sail, called lateen sails, were supported by long yards or poles at an angle of 45 degrees to the mast, which reminded the ancients of an insect's antennae. The Latin word antenna was an alteration of antemna ‘sailyard’, and was used by writers to translate the Greek keraioi ‘horns of insects’. When Marconi and others developed radio in the 1890s the word was quickly taken up, along with aerial ( see air), to refer to a rod or wire by which signals were received.

Words that rhyme with antenna

Avicenna, duenna, henna, Jenna, Jenner, Morwenna, Ravenna, senna, Siena, sienna, tenner, tenor, Vienna

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: an|tenna

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