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octopus (OK-tuh-pus) noun, plural octopuses or octopi

1. Any of numerous carnivorous marine mollusks of the genus Octopus or related genera, found worldwide. The octopus has a rounded soft body, eight tentacles with each bearing two rows of suckers, a large distinct head, and a strong beaklike mouth. Also called devilfish.

2. Something, such as a multinational corporation, that has many powerful, centrally controlled branches.

[New Latin Octopus, genus name, from Greek oktopous, eight-footed : okto, eight, okto(u) + pous, foot.]

"Wipro may be a diversified octopus but the strongest arm of the cephalopod is software." Sumit Mitra, et al, Software: Cyber Zars, India Today, Mar 15, 1999.

This week's theme: animal words that are used figuratively.


The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else. -John Updike, writer (1932- )

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