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[fahyuh r-flahy] /ˈfaɪərˌflaɪ/
noun, plural fireflies.
any nocturnal beetle of the family Lampyridae, characterized by a soft body with a light-producing organ at the rear of the abdomen.
Also called glowfly, lightning bug.
Compare glowworm.
Origin of firefly
1650-60; fire + fly2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for firefly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The firefly, a twelve-gun brig, sprung her masts, and had to put back to port.

    Historic Adventures Rupert S. Holland
  • firefly and Cracker were harnessed, and I had only to take my seat on the load.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • Together we saw the cherry trees bloom—once: and on a summer night we saw the wonder of the firefly fête.

    More Portmanteau Plays Stuart Walker
  • firefly was well trained, and understood his business perfectly.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • On a grassy bank we captured a firefly and shut him in between the glass and the face of our pocket compass.

British Dictionary definitions for firefly


noun (pl) -flies
any nocturnal beetle of the family Lampyridae, common in warm and tropical regions, having luminescent abdominal organs See also glow-worm
any tropical American click beetle of the genus Pyrophorus, esp P. noctiluca, that have luminescent thoracic organs
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 firefly

1650s, from fire (n.) + fly (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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