Octopi: 8 arms or 8 legs?

Well? get busy! :confused:

my WAG… arms… cuz I’d hate to think peeps are swinging them by thier legs as they throw them on the ice at Detroit Red Wings Hockey Games. :smiley:

I believe the correct answer is tentacles, but if I had to choose I’d say arms. Mostly just because of the way they grab and manipulate stuff with them. I realize some people can manipulate items with their feet, but I still say they’re arms.

Answers like THAT will get us moved for sure, sober up!

There’s no real answer to this question. Legs are appendages that are typically used for locomotion along a surface; arms are appendages used to grasp things. Since octopodes use their tentacles for both functions, they can be considered to be both arms and legs.

Eight limbs.

Arms and legs are limbs, so issue’s settled. I think.


Since the *pus * bit of the word *octopus * comes from the Greek word for foot, presumably someone thought of the tentacles as legs at one stage.

As well as “cephalapod” = “head-foot”. Also, in cephalapods tentacles are anatomically what would be the fleshy “foot” in a snail. But invertebrate anatomy is really just not comparable to vertebrates.

Tentacles! Why is it always tentacles?!!!

That’s all I need to hear. Thanks Cucumbator, yer allright!

Foot, yes, but what did the Greeks consider a foot, e.g. up to the knee?

And since “pus” comes from the Greek, not the Latin, it should form its plural the Greek way: octopoda. There are no “octopi”. Octopuses or octopoda, not “octopi.”

Y’know…that really hurts.


Just sayin’

Yes, octopodes. See bibliophage’s Staff Report on Latin plurals.

Someone ought to notify Merriam-Webster OnLine:

Bold and italics in original.

Just saying.


Yeah, I’ve noticed that before. Merriam-Webster got it wrong. As bibliophage’s article indicates, some errors of this kind have been so long-standing that they have even crept into the dictionary. (Another one is rhinoceri, the proper Latin plural of which is rhinocerotes.)

The most acceptable English plural is octopuses. The correct Latin plural is octopodes. Octopi cannot be considered a correct plural of octopus in any language.

Thanks, Colibri. :slight_smile:

Ignorance has ascended quite high, unfortunately, it seems.


May I suggest this be amended to:
Many people who deal with penises professionally in the medical profession use the Latin-style plural penes. . .
There are a lot of non-medical personnel who deal with penises professionally and they generally employ much more alliterative jargon.

For example:

“In this explosive DVD, watch as Nina the Naughty Night Nurse takes on four huge black penes

. . . just doesn’t seem to work.

From The Pyrates, by George MacDonald Fraser:

“…Sheba hangs naked in her cage down a great black cliff o’er pool o’ ravening octopi -”

“Not octopi. Sorry to interrupt, but it’s Greek, not Latin. Octopods, octopodes, take your pick, but not octopi.”

“O’er pool o’ ravening octopusses, then!” snarled Blood.