Advertisement

octopus (n.)

1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Greek oktōpous, literally "eight-foot," from oktō "eight" (see eight) + pous "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." Used figuratively since at least 1882 of powers having far-reaching influence (usually as considered harmful and destructive).

The proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi (1817) is from mistaken assumption that -us in this word is the Latin noun ending that takes -i in plural.

Others Are Reading