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octopus noun (octopuses) 1 any of about 150 species of marine mollusc, found mainly in tropical regions, with a soft rounded body, no external shell, and eight arms, each of which bears two rows of suckers. 2 a person or organization, etc with widespread, often harmful or destructive, influence. 3 a fairground ride that approximately resembles the form of an octopus, with a set of rotating spokes or 'arms' from which passenger cars are suspended.
ETYMOLOGY: Late 19c in sense 2; 18c: Latin, from Greek oktopous, from okto eight + pous foot.