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[el-i-tron] /ˈɛl ɪˌtrɒn/
noun, plural elytra
[el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/ (Show IPA)
one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings.
Also called wing case, wing cover.
Origin of elytron
1745-55; < New Latin < Greek élytron a covering
Related forms
[el-i-truh s] /ˈɛl ɪ trəs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for elytron


noun (pl) -tra (-trə)
either of the horny front wings of beetles and some other insects, which cover and protect the hind wings
Derived Forms
elytroid, elytrous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Greek elutron sheath, covering
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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elytron in Science

Plural elytra
Either of the modified forewings of a beetle or related insect that encase the thin hind wings used in flight.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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