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aphid

[ey-fid, af-id]
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noun
  1. any of numerous tiny soft-bodied insects of the family Aphididae of worldwide distribution, that suck the sap from the stems and leaves of various plants, some developing wings when overcrowding occurs: an important pest of many fruit trees and vegetable crops.
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Origin of aphid

1880–85; back formation from aphides, plural of aphis
Also called plant louse.
Related formsa·phid·i·an [uh-fid-ee-uh n] /əˈfɪd i ən/, adjective, nouna·phid·i·ous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for aphid

aphid

noun
  1. any of the small homopterous insects of the family Aphididae, which feed by sucking the juices from plantsAlso called: plant louse See also greenfly, blackfly
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Derived Formsaphidian (əˈfɪdɪən), adjective, nounaphidious, adjective

Word Origin

C19: back formation from aphides, plural of aphis
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

Word Origin and History for aphid

n.

1884, anglicized from Modern Latin aphides, plural of aphis, coined by Linnaeus (1758), though where he got it and why he applied it to the plant louse are mysteries. The theory favored by OED as "least improbable" is that it derives from the plural of Greek apheides "unsparing, lavishly bestowed," in reference either to the "prodigious rate of production" of the insects or their voracity. They also are known as ant-cows.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper