A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Tarantula

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2024

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2024

Tarántula. n.s. [Italian; tarentule, French.] An insect whose bite is only cured by musick.

This word, lover, did no less pierce poor Pyrocles than the right tune of musick toucheth him that is sick of the tarantula. Sidney.

He that uses the word tarantula, without having any idea of what it stands for, means nothing at all by it. Locke.

Sources: Locke, John (269) · Sidney, Philip (140)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Tarantula." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 14, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=9691.


  1. It was believed in 15th and 16th century Italy that the bite of the wolf spider, often called tarantula (though it was not big or hairy like what we call tarantula today), caused a disease called tarantism, which could only be cured by dancing the fast-paced Tarantella.

  2. Brandi on June 14th, 2012 at 3:57 am

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