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[kris-uh-lis] /ˈkrɪs ə lɪs/
noun, plural chrysalises, chrysalides
[kri-sal-i-deez] /krɪˈsæl ɪˌdiz/ (Show IPA)
the hard-shelled pupa of a moth or butterfly; an obtect pupa.
Origin of chrysalis
1650-60; < Latin chrȳsalis < Greek chrȳsallís, equivalent to chrȳs- chrys- + -allis suffix, probably with diminutive value Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chrysalides
Historical Examples
  • The chrysalides are often hairy, though some of them are perfectly smooth.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
  • When your caterpillars are full-sized they will transform into chrysalides.

  • Why are insects in the "pupa" stage also called "chrysalides?"

    The Reason Why Anonymous
  • In form the chrysalides of butterflies and moths are as variable as the caterpillars.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
  • Many of the chrysalides died before they turned into moths, and their bodies might be said to be entirely composed of corpuscles.

    Louis Pasteur Ren Vallery-Radot
  • There is another feature concerning the chrysalides worthy of note.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
  • The chrysalides terminate behind in a sharp spine, and are always to be found buried in the soil.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
  • But they ran the risk thus of being burnt, or of a certain number of chrysalides remaining alive.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • But chrysalides of Ajax, exposed at same time, did give changed butterflies to some extent.

  • They burrow into the ground to change into chrysalides, and undergo all their metamorphoses in the course of the year.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
British Dictionary definitions for chrysalides


noun (pl) chrysalises, chrysalides (krɪˈsælɪˌdiːz)
the obtect pupa of a moth or butterfly
anything in the process of developing
Word Origin
C17: from Latin chrӯsallis, from Greek khrusallis, from khrusos gold, of Semitic origin; compare Hebrew harūz gold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chrysalides



c.1600, from Latin chrysallis, from Greek khrysallis (genitive khrysallidos) "golden colored pupa of the butterfly," from khrysos "gold," perhaps of Semitic origin (cf. Hebrew and Phoenician harutz "gold") + second element meaning something like "sheath." Seeking a plural, OED leans toward the classically correct chrysalides.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chrysalides in Science
  1. The pupa of certain kinds of insects, especially of moths and butterflies, that is inactive and enclosed in a firm case or cocoon from which the adult eventually emerges.

  2. The case or cocoon of a chrysalis.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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