Definition of tarantula in English:


Syllabification: ta·ran·tu·la
Pronunciation: /təˈranCHələ


  • 1A large hairy spider found chiefly in tropical and subtropical America, some kinds of which are able to catch small lizards, frogs, and birds.
    • Family Theraphosidae, suborder Mygalomorphae: numerous species
    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.


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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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody