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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ And having bites on my face from a very large centipede.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Centipede \Cen"ti*pede\, n. [L. centipeda; centum a hundred + pes, pedis, foot: cf. F. centip[`e]de.] (Zo["o]l.) A species of the Myriapoda; esp. the large, flattened, venomous kinds of the order Chilopoda, found in tropical climates. they are many-jointed, and have a great number of feet. [Formerly also chi`lioi centiped (?).]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1640s, from French centipède, from Latin centipeda "many-footed insect," from centum "hundred" (see hundred) + pedis, genitive of pes "foot" (see foot (n.)).


n. Any arthropod of class Chilopoda, which have a segmented body with one pair of legs per segment and from about 20 to 300 legs in total.


n. chiefly nocturnal predacious arthropod having a flattened body of 15 to 173 segments each with a pair of legs the foremost being modified into poison fangs


Centipedes (from Latin prefix , "hundred", and , " foot") are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. Centipedes are known to be highly venomous, and often inject paralyzing venom. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs. Therefore, no centipede has exactly 100 legs. A key trait uniting this group is a pair of venom claws or forcipules formed from a modified first appendage. Centipedes are predominantly carnivorous.

Their size can range from a few millimetres in the smaller lithobiomorphs and geophilomorphs to about in the largest scolopendromorphs. Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments. They normally have a drab coloration combining shades of brown and red. Cavernicolous (cave-dwelling) and subterranean species may lack pigmentation, and many tropical scolopendromorphs have bright aposematic colours.

Worldwide, an estimated 8,000 species of centipedes are thought to exist, of which 3,000 have been described. Centipedes have a wide geographical range, where they even reach beyond the Arctic Circle. They are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. Within these habitats, centipedes require a moist microhabitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, therefore causing them to rapidly lose water. Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs. Centipedes are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators, and often contribute significantly to the invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial ecosystems. Only one species, Scolopendra cataracta, is known to be amphibious and is believed to hunt aquatic or amphibious invertebrates.

Centipede (video game)

Centipede is a vertically oriented shoot 'em up arcade game produced by Atari, Inc. in 1980. The game was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey. The player defends against centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas, completing a round after eliminating the centipede that winds down the playing field.

Centipede (disambiguation)

A centipede is an arthropod belonging to the class Chilopoda.

Centipede may also refer to:

Centipede (band)

Centipede were an English jazz/ progressive rock/ big band with more than 50 members, organized and led by the British free jazz pianist Keith Tippett. Formed in 1970, it brought together much of a generation of young British jazz and rock musicians from a number of bands, including Soft Machine, King Crimson, Nucleus and Blossom Toes.

Centipede performed several concerts in England, toured France, and recorded a double-album, Septober Energy (produced by Robert Fripp), before disbanding at the end of 1971. They reformed briefly in 1975 to play at a few French jazz festivals.

Centipede (1998 video game)

Centipede is a remake of the 1980 arcade game of the same name, produced by Atari and designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey. This version has multiple in-game innovations, with improved gameplay and graphics. It retains the original idea of shooting the entire centipede repeatedly. The player assumes the role of a futuristic vehicle named "The Shooter", rather than the original garden gnome.

Gameplay consists of a series of "rounds" which are completed once the player eliminates the centipede that winds down the playing field. Obstacles such as spiders, fleas, and scorpions complicate the game. At the same time, a population of mushrooms grows between the player and the centipede.

Centipede (song)

"Centipede" is the first single by American singer Rebbie Jackson and the title track from her debut album, Centipede. It was an RIAA Gold-certified, million-selling single and remains Rebbie's highest charting single to date, peaking at number four on the Billboard R&B chart and number twenty-four on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song features backing vocals by her brother Michael Jackson and The Weather Girls. It was later re-released on The Rebbie Jackson Collection and on her 1998 album Yours Faithfully. The single includes an extended mix and an instrumental version.

"Centipede" was sampled in Brand Nubian's song "Let's Dance", found on their 1998 album Foundation.

Centipede (album)

Centipede is the debut album by American singer Rebbie Jackson. Released on the Columbia label in 1984, the album spawned two top-forty Billboard charting hits, the most famous being the title track. Centipede became Jackson's only gold-certified album throughout her 14-year musical career. On May 25, 2010, the album was reissued on CD, also containing its follow-up, Reaction. In September 2012, the album was reissued by Funky Town Grooves on CD and included 7 bonus tracks.

Centipede is mentioned in the 2006 RuPaul song " Supermodel (El Lay Toya Jam)" from the album ReWorked.

Usage examples of "centipede".

Related fads included trimming hats and dresses with lizards, spiders, toads, and centipedes.

His body was built low to the ground and on each side of it he had a couple of dozen stubby legs, like a centipede, and I knew that so long as he was back there behind them, the hobbies would try no monkey business.

Caudell remembered the first day of marching down at Camp Mangum, when an irate drill sergeant had compared their ragged line to a drunken centipede in an ass-kicking contest.

The arthropods, the most populous of the phyla, included creatures like insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and crabs.

In the tropics, where centipedes can grow to a fearsome 30 cm in length, their victims include mice, birds and geckos.

The centipedes were still immured, and Edward made tentative overtures to David on the subject of broaching the case after dinner.

Spiders and bugs and praying mantises and yard-long centipedes, scuttling and crawling in an endless tide.

Centipede lovingly polished the horse roundels of mother-of-pearl inlay on the copper-and-gold-flecked lacquered ground of the scabbard.

He bets a hundred on a centipede called Marchesa, and down pops Marchesa like a trained pig at 20 to 1.

Out of the carrier crept a long device like a metal centipede, with flanged underside instead of legs.

It had many legs like a centipede, but its gleaming body segments were polished steel.

I may use the expression, a centipede, so to speak, without showing one.

I wonder he does n't have a midnight orgy with the centipedes, but I suppose Mary sees to that.

Renny's voice bawled out of the loudspeaker: "That queer centipede that disappeared after clawin' up the elevator starter -- well, it showed up again.

So from one man here, one man there, walking as swift as his oily glances, it became scuttles of dogmen begging gifts of trouble, pandering misery, seeking under carpets for centipede treads, watchful of night sweats, harkening by all bedroom doors to hear men twist basting themselves with remorse and warm-water dreams.