butterfly

Definitions

  • Fig. A.—Tongue of Butterfly
    Fig. A.—Tongue of Butterfly
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v butterfly talk or behave amorously, without serious intentions "The guys always try to chat up the new secretaries","My husband never flirts with other women"
    • v butterfly cut and spread open, as in preparation for cooking "butterflied shrimp"
    • v butterfly flutter like a butterfly
    • n butterfly a swimming stroke in which the arms are thrown forward together out of the water while the feet kick up and down
    • n butterfly diurnal insect typically having a slender body with knobbed antennae and broad colorful wings
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Additional illustrations & photos:

A woman, an elderly man and two children watch butterflies in a garden A woman, an elderly man and two children watch butterflies in a garden
A little girl with an armful of flowers examines a butterfly perched on her hand A little girl with an armful of flowers examines a butterfly perched on her hand
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD CATCHING BUTTERFLIES LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD CATCHING BUTTERFLIES
217. The Comma Butterfly 217. The Comma Butterfly
Body of the monarch butterfly Body of the monarch butterfly
The larva of the violet tip butterfly The larva of the violet tip butterfly
Chrysalid (pupa) of the violet tip butterfly Chrysalid (pupa) of the violet tip butterfly
The dead-leaf butterfly The dead-leaf butterfly

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A butterfly can see the colors red, green, and yellow
    • n Butterfly (Zoöl) A general name for the numerous species of diurnal Lepidoptera.See Illust. under Aphrodite
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The original name for butterfly was flutterby
    • n butterfly The common English name of any diurnal lepidopterous insect; especially, one of the rhopalocerous Lepidoptera, corresponding to the old Linnean genus Papilio, called distinctively the butterflies. See Diurna, Rhopalocera, Lepidoptera, and Papilio.
    • n butterfly Figuratively, a person whose attention is given up to a variety of trifles of any kind; one incapable of steady application; a showily dressed, vain, and giddy person.
    • n butterfly A kind of flat made-up neck-tie.
    • n butterfly An herb otherwise called ragwort. Kersey, 1708.
    • n butterfly A local name for a mussel, Plagiola securis, found in the Mississippi river: so called from the shape of the valves. The shell is used in the pearl-button industry.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There are over 2,000 species of butterflies in the rainforests of South America
    • Butterfly the name of an extensive group of beautiful winged insects:
    • Butterfly (fig.) a light-headed person
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Quotations

  • R. Buckminster Fuller
    R.%20Buckminster%20Fuller
    “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”
  • Muhammad Ali
    Muhammad%20Ali
    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
  • Alexander Pope
    Alexander%20Pope
    “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?”
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel%20Hawthorne
    “Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
  • Elizabeth Goudge
    Elizabeth Goudge
    “Butterflies... not quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures.”

Idioms

Butterflies in your stomach - The nervous feeling before something important or stressful is known as butterflies in your stomach.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Perh. from the color of a yellow species. AS. buter-flēge, buttor-fleóge,; cf. G. butterfliege, D. botervlieg,. See Butter, and Fly
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. butere; Ger. butter; both from L. butyrum—Gr. boutyronbous ox, tyros, cheese.

Usage

In literature:

The distribution of colour in butterflies and moths respectively is very instructive from this point of view.
"Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection" by Alfred Russel Wallace
I shall confine myself here to the comparatively recently discovered fragrance of butterflies.
"Evolution in Modern Thought" by Ernst Haeckel
The moment I had mounted my mule, the butterfly would at once fly again to my hand.
"Across Unknown South America" by Arnold Henry Savage Landor
Androconia: specialized, usually small scales of peculiar form, found localized on some male butterflies.
"Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology" by John. B. Smith
I think I'll let the butterflies wait and I'll go outdoors.
"Patchwork" by Anna Balmer Myers
These are the advance guards of the cabbage millers or butterflies.
"An Elementary Study of Insects" by Leonard Haseman
It awakens, hesitates, grows, and at last from the sad chrysalis emerges the butterfly.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke
Her butterfly, her pretty talisman, where was it?
"Marjorie Dean High School Freshman" by Pauline Lester
The Beast is an ugly Caterpillar, the Princess Beauty is the Butterfly or the Moth.
"Woodland Tales" by Ernest Seton-Thompson
Eugene d'Albert 506 Madame Butterfly .
"The Standard Operaglass" by Charles Annesley
You say they say it was only a butterfly.
"The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" by James McNeill Whistler
A flower to her meant a hot-house rose; a bird was a bird; a butterfly was a butterfly.
"Hildegarde's Holiday" by Laura E. Richards
Then followed the moths, ladybugs, butterflies, and mosquitoes.
"Thirty Indian Legends" by Margaret Bemister
He whistled to the butterfly to stop a moment while he picked a blackberry; the butterfly settled on a leaf.
"Wood Magic" by Richard Jefferies
Next, the little gray kitten met a butterfly on the top of a dandelion.
"Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building, Volume I (of 17)" by Various
Just as she was gathering the flowers, a bright, blue butterfly lighted near her and then flew a little farther on.
"Five Little Friends" by Sherred Willcox Adams
She was all in white with the big, ruby-eyed butterfly on her bosom, and the chain of butterflies about her throat.
"The Silver Butterfly" by Mrs. Wilson Woodrow
White butterflies flitted past, then a yellow one, and finally a real Monarch.
"Edge of the Jungle" by William Beebe
This is one of the most remarkable butterflies in America.
"Boy Scouts Handbook" by Boy Scouts of America
I rebel; and shall amaze Maman by becoming a social butterfly for a season.
"The Bondwoman" by Marah Ellis Ryan
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In poetry:

Even the butterfly,
A painted hour;
Said to the homeless one:
"I know a flower."
"A Ballad of The Kind Little Creatures" by Richard Le Gallienne
From flower to flower
The butterfly sips,
O passionate limbs
And importunate lips!
"Snatch" by Richard Le Gallienne
"I write about the butterfly,
It is a pretty thing;
And flies about like the birds,
But it does not sing.
"I Write About The Butterfly" by Louisa May Alcott
In the silence he has heard
Talking bee and ladybird,
And the butterfly has flown
O'er him as he lay alone.
"The Dumb Soldier" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Butterflies about her skim—
Pouf! their simple fancies
In the willow shadows dim
Take her eyes for pansies.
"Bouche-Mignonne" by Isabella Valancy Crawford
"First it is a little grub,
And then it is a nice yellow cocoon,
And then the butterfly
Eats its way out soon.
"I Write About The Butterfly" by Louisa May Alcott

In news:

A lagging monarch butterfly has made the trip from Albany, N.Y.
Preschoolers from Evergreen School in Scotch Plains welcome Monarch butterfly .
Preschool students at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District's Evergreen School were welcomed by a male Monarch butterfly that was raised from a chrysalis.
Learn the life cycle of the amazing monarch butterfly Saturday, Oct 13, at Acton Nature Center.
Marcus Newcomb School sixth grader Katelyn Skoglund holds a monarch butterfly in her hands after it was released during a school science project at the Pemberton Township school on Thursday.
Marcus Newcomb School sixth grader Taylor Houston looks up at a monarch butterfly perched on her forehead after being released during a school science project at the Pemberton Township school on Thursday.
Here's How to Tag a Monarch Butterfly in Six Easy Steps.
A small tag on a monarch butterfly will help track the butterfly's migration through the United States and into Mexico for winter.
Monarch butterfly population at risk as habitat declines due to climate change.
Mexico's monarch butterfly reserve stops logging.
Drought may make butterflies' migration difficult.
Millions of monarch butterflies are on the move right now, heading from the United States to central Mexico for the winter.
From Caterpillar To Monarch Butterfly .
SAN ANTONIO — A lagging monarch butterfly has made the trip from Albany, N.Y. To Texas with help from a commercial plane and an insect lover.
They're usually something simple like "I love you" with a picture of a butterfly or something harmless like that.
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In science:

Shut yourself up with some friend in the main cabin below decks on some large ship, and have with you there some flies, butterflies, and other small flying animals.
Defending The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning
He is not saying that we can describe flight-paths of the butterflies using a coordinate system with any origin, orientation or velocity relative to the ship.
Defending The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning
For example, in the ca se of nonlinear financial system, the series of sequential events can have a point of crisis that could magnify the small changes and lead to the big nonlinearities, cau sed by the Butterfly effect with the strong dependence on the initial conditions of the nonlinear financial system.
On the Risk Management with Application of Econophysics Analysis in Central Banks and Financial Institutions
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