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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Octopus \Oc"to*pus\, n. [NL. See Octopod.] 1. (Zool.) A genus of eight-armed cephalopods, including numerous species, some of them of large size. See Devilfish. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zool.) Any member of the genus Octopus. [PJC] 3. (Fig.) Something resembling an octopus in having numerous controlling arms or branches that reach widely and influence many activities; -- used mostly of organizations, such as diversified corporations. [PJC]