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horse fly

any bloodsucking, usually large fly of the family Tabanidae, especially of the genus Tabanus, a serious pest of horses, cattle, etc.
Origin of horse fly
1350-1400; Middle English horsfleeye Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for horsefly
Historical Examples
  • A horsefly (hoane) lived there at the edge of the mesa in a cavity.

    Seven Mohave Myths A. L. Kroeber
  • Tabanidae viridis was not sent just to plague us with horsefly bites.

    Tabby Winston Marks
  • As much human affection as you can squeeze out of the60 hind foot of a horsefly!

    The Wasted Generation Owen Johnson
  • In spite of the humid atmosphere, a buzzing like that of a horsefly, hummed several times above the two visitors.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Vicente Blasco Ibanez
British Dictionary definitions for horsefly


noun (pl) -flies
any large stout-bodied dipterous fly of the family Tabanidae, the females of which suck the blood of mammals, esp horses, cattle, and man Also called gadfly, cleg
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 horsefly

late 14c., from horse (n.) + fly (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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