spider sense n.

in the fictional world of the comic book hero Spider-Man: the precognitive ability to anticipate (and react to) dangerous situations beyond the normal range of human senses; (hence, in figurative or allusive use) a premonition; intuition; insight


  • [1885 Los Angeles Times 19 Apr. 4/8

    Spider Sense.—A German entomologist…claims that spiders have perfect sight only at very short distances. Their sense of touch is consequently remarkably well developed…. Their smell is so good that they can distinguish odors, and their hearing is excellent.]

  • [1906 Massachusetts Ploughman & New England Journal of Agriculture 28 July 7/5

    In my garden I have taken away from a female spider…her precious bundle of eggs, and watched the effect. Her agitation has been marked. She has searched about for the eggs, seizing, and, by the exquisite spider sense of feel, examining minute bits of soil, etc., to see whether any of these be the missing treasure.]

  • [1963 S. Lee & S. Ditko Spider-Man vs. the Chameleon! 4 in Amazing Spider-Man (#1) Mar. page image

    My spider instinct senses danger behind me!]

  • 1963 S. Lee & S. Ditko Spider-Man vs. the Chameleon! 6 in Amazing Spider-Man (#1) Mar. page image

    Spider-man has the powers and instincts of a spider! So I will send him a message that only his spider senses will be able to pick up!

  • [1963 S. Lee & S. Ditko Spider-Man vs. the Chameleon! 7 in Amazing Spider-Man (#1) Mar. page image

    If he hasn’t flown too far, I can use my spider’s senses to ‘tune in’ on the ship…get its location!]

  • 1975 Parents’ Magazine Nov. 30 (advt.)

    Something new, parents! Spider-Man vitamins from Hudson…. Your kids won’t forget to take their vitamins…when they know ‘spider sense’ will help them remember!

  • 1978 San Francisco Examiner 25 Mar. 3/1

    My spider sense is tingling (you know, those little lines that surround Spiderman’s head when danger is nearby). I have this feeling all sorts of tantalizing news is working its way down the pike.

  • 1987 Los Angeles Times 5 Dec. iii. 1/1

    Last year I make a surprise block on Cleveland’s Clay Matthews, he gets up and says, ‘Good play. You must have used your Spider Sense.’

  • 2006 Las Vegas Review-Journal 22 July b1/3

    He called it the ‘spider sense’—when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

  • 2008 Sarasota Herald-Tribune 31 May 9a/1

    A veteran lifeguard for 24 years, with the sun-bleached hair and deep tan to show for it, he usually noticed when something was wrong. He calls it his ‘spider sense.’

  • 2014 R. Sloan Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore 42

    Usually I can detect instantly whether I’m dealing with a member of the world’s weirdest book club or a normal late-night browser. But now my spider-sense is jammed.

Research requirements

antedating 1963

Research History
Suggested by Bill Mullins.

Last modified 2024-03-29 11:33:45
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.