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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Milleped \Mil"le*ped\ (m[i^]l"l[-e]*p[e^]d[i^]), n. [L. millepeda; mille a thousand + pes, pedis, foot: cf. F. mille-pieds.] (Zo["o]l.) A myriapod with many legs, esp. a chilognath, as the galleyworm. [Written also millipede and milliped.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also millepede, c.1600, from Latin millepeda "wood louse," a type of crawling insect, from mille "thousand" (see million) + pes (genitive pedis) "foot" (see foot (n.)). Probably a loan-translation of Greek chiliopous.


n. Any of many elongated arthropods, of the class Diplopoda, with cylindrical bodies that have two pairs of legs for each one of their 20 to 100 or more body segments.(From 1600)


n. any of numerous herbivorous nonpoisonous arthropods having a cylindrical body of 20 to 100 or more segments most with two pairs of legs [syn: millepede, milliped]


Millipedes are a group of arthropods that are characterised by having two pairs of jointed legs on most body segments; they are known scientifically as the class Diplopoda, the name being derived from this feature. Each double-legged segment is a result of two single segments fused together. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical or flattened bodies with more than 20 segments, while pill millipedes are shorter and can roll into a ball. Although the name "millipede" derives from the Latin for "thousand feet", no known species has 1,000; the record of 750 legs belongs to Illacme plenipes. There are approximately 12,000 named species classified into 16 orders and around 140 families, making Diplopoda the largest class of myriapods, an arthropod group which also includes centipedes and other multi-legged creatures.

Most millipedes are slow-moving detritivores, eating decaying leaves and other dead plant matter. Some eat fungi or suck plant fluids, and a small minority are predatory. Millipedes are generally harmless to humans, although some can become household or garden pests, especially in greenhouses where they can cause severe damage to emergent seedlings. Most millipedes defend themselves with a variety of chemicals secreted from pores along the body, although the tiny bristle millipedes are covered with tufts of detachable bristles. Reproduction in most species is carried out by modified male legs called gonopods, which transfer packets of sperm to females.

First appearing in the Silurian period, millipedes are some of the oldest known land animals. Some members of prehistoric groups grew to over , while the largest modern species reach maximum lengths of . The longest extant species is the giant African millipede ( Archispirostreptus gigas).

Among myriapods, millipedes have traditionally been considered most closely related to the tiny pauropods, although some molecular studies challenge this relationship. Millipedes can be distinguished from the somewhat similar but only distantly related centipedes (class Chilopoda), which move rapidly, are carnivorous, and have only a single pair of legs on each body segment. The scientific study of millipedes is known as diplopodology, and a scientist who studies them is called a diplopodologist.

Millipede (video game)

Millipede is a 1982 arcade game by Atari, Inc. and is the sequel to the arcade hit, Centipede. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible by destroying all segments of the millipede as it moves toward the bottom of the screen, as well as destroying and avoiding other enemies. The game is played with a trackball and a single fire button, which can be held down for rapid-fire. The game is over when the player's last life is lost.

Millipede (disambiguation)

A millipede is a myriapod with two pairs of legs on most segments.

"Millipede" may also refer to:

  • Millipede (video game), 1982 arcade sequel to Centipede
  • IBM Millipede, a MEMS technology for non-volatile data storage

Usage examples of "millipede".

The other was filled with an enormous fanlike artificial construction mounted on struts sufficient to make a millipede jealous.

Vascay to Metron, then beyond the wizard to take in the forest of giant grass and brambles through which the millipede paced.

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

Pan global corporatisation is coming whether we like it or not and as of next month Caspari and Millipede will be folded into the publishing arm of the Deutsche Submarine Corporation.

While the pack of wolf-monkeys howled and gibbered toward Fulla, Skellum sent a quartet of man-sized millipedes scurrying after them.

They looked like giant spiders, huge millipedes, armor-plated lizards and flying scorpions.

Keep the trap damp, and every few days uncover it, pull it out, and dunk the millipedes in soapy water.

Before the era was out some millipedes would reach lengths more than double that.

She pried up boulders and released a scattering of invertebrates: nematodes, mites, sowbugs, altered millipedes.

And the giant millipede would have devoured them all, but that Burl gave commands and set the example, and he had marched magnificently up the mountainside when it seemed that all the cosmos twisted and prepared to drop them into an inverted sky.

Hanuman was writing at that time in the compact, rather inflexible Latin of the Augustan age, and he wrote with almost no margins in a script hardly thicker than the legs of a millipede.

On the other side I noticed a number of bright orange (probably poisonous) millipedes which weren't being harmed by the ants but which seemed to be unable or unwilling to cross the ant trail.

They needed to run the engine to break it in before leaving, but with the ventilation system gone, the exhaust fumes mixed with the previous oil smoke and the mounting stink of the aced millipedes into a noxious reek that was getting worse by the minute.

Out of the tunnel hissed a giant aluminum millipede, its nose windowless and crossed by a radiance of green lines.

Headlights washed like klieg lights across these thick swathes of living matter, highlighting faces and hands as if they were segments of one vast millipede making its laborious way across the city.