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Any of various annelid worms of the class Polychaeta, including mostly marine worms such as the lugworm, and characterized by fleshy paired appendages tipped with bristles on each body segment.

[New Latin Polychaeta, class name, from Greek polukhaitēs, with much hair : polu-, poly- + khaitē, long hair.]

pol′y·chaete′, pol′y·chae′tous adj.


(ˈpɒlɪˌkiːt) or


(Animals) any marine annelid worm of the class Polychaeta, having a distinct head and paired fleshy appendages (parapodia) that bear bristles (chaetae or setae) and are used in swimming: includes the lugworms, ragworms, and sea mice
(Animals) of, relating to, or belonging to the class Polychaeta
[C19: from New Latin, from Greek polukhaitēs: having much hair; see chaeta]


(ˈpɒl ɪˌkit)

1. any of various marine annelid worms of the class Polychaeta, having regularly paired body bristles and often other appendages.
2. Also, pol`y•chae′tous. belonging or pertaining to the Polychaeta.
[1885–90; < New Latin Polychaeta, neuter pl. of polychaetus (with change of declension) < Greek polychaítēs having much hair. See poly-, chaeta]


Any of various often brightly colored, meat-eating worms that are related to earthworms and leeches and usually live in the ocean. Each segment of a polychaete has a pair of fleshy appendages that are tipped with bristles, used for swimming or burrowing.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.polychaete - chiefly marine annelids possessing both sexes and having paired appendages (parapodia) bearing bristles
annelid, annelid worm, segmented worm - worms with cylindrical bodies segmented both internally and externally
class Polychaeta, Polychaeta - marine annelid worms
lobworm, lugworm, lug - marine worms having a row of tufted gills along each side of the back; often used for fishing bait
sea mouse - any of several large worms having a broad flattened body with a mat of coarse hairs covering the back
bloodworm - a segmented marine worm with bright red body; often used for bait
References in periodicals archive ?
Catalogue of the Polychaetous Annelids of the World, Pt.
Seasonal settlement of polychaetous annelids on test panels in Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbors 1950-1951.
Benthic polychaetous annelids from deep water off Western Mexico and adjacent areasin the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Biological results of the last cruise of Carnegie: Polychaetous annelids.
Polychaetous annelids from the coast of Paraiba State, Brazil.
Hartman O (1974) [1976] Polychaetous annelids of the Indian Ocean including an account of species collected by members of the International Indian Ocean Expeditions, 1963-1964 and a catalogue and bibliography of the species from India.
Perez A, Hernandez-Alcantara P, Solis-Weiss V (2003) Bathymetric distribution and diversity of deep water polychaetous annelids in the Sigsbee Basin, northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
One of the most neglected, major groups of marine invertebrates may be the polychaetous annelids that could be useful as indicators of varying degrees of marine pollution (Tsutsumi 1990; Pocklington & Wells 1992).