noun, plural hy·dras, hy·drae

  1. (often initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. a water or marsh serpent with nine heads, each of which, if cut off, grew back as two; Hercules killed this serpent by cauterizing the necks as he cut off the heads.
  2. any freshwater polyp of the genus Hydra and related genera, having a cylindrical body with a ring of tentacles surrounding the mouth, and usually living attached to rocks, plants, etc., but also capable of detaching and floating in the water.
  3. a persistent or many-sided problem that presents new obstacles as soon as one aspect is solved.
  4. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Sea Serpent, a large southern constellation extending through 90° of the sky, being the longest of all constellations.

Origin: 1325–75; < Latin < Greek hýdrā water serpent 


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