pre·hen·sile (prē-hĕnsəl, -sīl′)
1. Able to seize, grasp, or hold, especially by wrapping around an object: a monkey's prehensile tail.
2. Having a keen intellect or powerful memory: a prehensile mind.
[French préhensile, from Latin prehēnsus, past participle of prehendere, to grasp; see ghend- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pre′hen·sili·ty (-sĭlĭ-tē) n.
(click for a larger image)prehensile
prehensile tail of an opossum
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.