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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chrysalis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I hate musical people; that is, when in the chrysalis state of learning.

  • Hers were ice cold—but inside they tingled and glowed, like a worm of fire in a chrysalis of ice.

  • The caterpillar and the chrysalis belong to the embryonic period.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • He struck the only thing within his reach, the chrysalis case itself.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Childhood is a chrysalis from which each must extricate himself.

  • I only meant,' said I, 'that a chrysalis is an innocent thing.'

    A Thin Ghost and Others

    M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James
  • The pupa, or chrysalis, we have found in the cells the last of July.

    Our Common Insects Alpheus Spring Packard
  • At the end of the walk he begged the doctor to accept the chrysalis.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • When about to change to the chrysalis state, they suspend themselves by the tail.

British Dictionary definitions for chrysalis


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 chrysalis

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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chrysalis 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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