- any of the larvae of several moths of the genus Malacosoma, which feed on the leaves of orchard and shade trees and live colonially in a tentlike silken web.
- the North American larva of M. disstria (forest tent caterpillar), which spins a dense net.
Origin of tent caterpillar
An Americanism dating back to 1850–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tent caterpillar
My trees are troubled with tent-caterpillar, bud moth, and twig-borers, and my apples with codling-moth.
My trees are troubled with canker-worm, tent-caterpillar, flathead borer, and leaf-roller.
My trees are troubled with canker-worm, tent-caterpillar, bud moth, and flathead borer.
My trees are troubled with flathead borer and tent-caterpillar, and my apples with codling-moth.
My trees are troubled with tent-caterpillar and flathead borer, and my apples with codling-moth.
- the larva of various moths of the family Lasiocampidae, esp Malacosoma americana of North America, which build communal webs in trees
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