Etymology
Advertisement

tarantula (n.)

1560s, "wolf spider," (Lycos tarantula), from Medieval Latin tarantula, from Italian tarantola, from Taranto "Taranto," seaport city in southern Italy in the region where the spiders are frequently found, from Latin Tarentum, from Greek Taras (genitive Tarantos; perhaps from Illyrian darandos "oak"). Its bite is only slightly poisonous. Popularly applied to other great hairy spiders, especially the genus Mygale, native to the warmer regions of the Americas (first so called in 1794).

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of tarantula

tarantula (n.)
large southern European spider once thought to be the cause of tarantism (uncontrollable bodily movement);
Synonyms: European wolf spider / Lycosa tarentula
tarantula (n.)
large hairy tropical spider with fangs that can inflict painful but not highly venomous bites;
From wordnet.princeton.edu