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[pap-uh-lon; French pa-pee-yawn] /ˈpæp əˌlɒn; French pa piˈyɔ̃/
noun, plural papillons
[-lonz; French pa-pee-yawn] /-ˌlɒnz; French pa piˈyɔ̃/ (Show IPA)
one of a breed of toy spaniels having a long, silky coat and large, erect ears held so that they resemble the wings of a butterfly.
Origin of papillon
1905-10; < French: butterfly < Latin pāpiliōn- (stem of pāpiliō) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for papillon
Historical Examples
  • Miss papillon called on us yesterday, looking handsomer than ever.

  • Bombo, the name of a dog, supposed by papillon to be the name of a wood-engraver, 337 n.

  • Address it to papillon (Eugene), driver, care of M. Trigault.

    Monsieur Lecoq, v.1 Emile Gaboriau
  • The young detective was hastening away, when papillon called him back.

    Monsieur Lecoq, v.1 Emile Gaboriau
  • She adds to her gift the horse papillon and his comrade Benoist.

    The Fairy Mythology Thomas Keightley
  • papillon, in his account of the Dance of Death, abounds with inaccuracies.

    The Dance of Death Francis Douce
  • This is mentioned by M. Peignot, on the authority of papillon.

    The Dance of Death Francis Douce
  • How the attempt was made, and how providentially it failed is told by papillon.

  • So he readily assented to accompany the Judge, and Colonel papillon, who was no less curious, agreed to go too.

    The Rome Express Arthur Griffiths
  • Mary de Medici, her portrait mistaken by papillon and Fournier for a specimen of her own engraving on wood, 461.

British Dictionary definitions for papillon


a breed of toy spaniel with large ears
Word Origin
French: butterfly, from Latin pāpiliō
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 papillon

1907, as a breed of dog, from French papillon, literally "butterfly," from Latin papilionem (nominative papilio) "butterfly," perhaps from a reduplicated form of PIE root *pal- "to touch, feel, shake."

The Latin word is cognate with Old English fifealde "butterfly," Old Saxon fifoldara, Old Norse fifrildi, Old High German vivaltra, German Falter. The dog so called for the shape of the ears.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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