noun, plural but·ter·flies.
verb (used with object), but·ter·flied, but·ter·fly·ing.
adjective Also butterflied.
- butterflies in one's stomach,
- butterfly ballot,
- butterfly bomb,
- butterfly bush,
- butterfly chair,
- butterfly closure
Origin of butterfly
Examples from the Web for butterflies
It implies that GMOs are the opposite of butterflies and blades of grass.
It conjures up all sorts of nice mental pictures: waterfalls, butterflies, the slow return to spring after a long winter.Warning: “Natural Medicine” Is Often Code for “Pseudoscience”|Russell Saunders|April 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Farrow smiles and butterflies flutter and stars shoot across the night sky.
Or that one time Mariah Carey rambled four minutes about butterflies and then blew glitter into the wind?Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. Will Save ‘American Idol’|Kevin Fallon|September 3, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Judge Heidi Klum floated across stage as if carried by a fleet of butterflies.My Night at ‘America’s Got Talent’ With Mariann From Brooklyn|Kevin Fallon|July 31, 2013|DAILY BEAST
We have before us then a number of groups of butterflies each with a series of different colour patterns.Mimicry in Butterflies|Reginald Crundall Punnett
This is one of the largest and the most beautiful of the European butterflies.The Insect World|Louis Figuier
For example, Ireland has only forty of the seventy species of British butterflies.
Butterflies are very numerous, some being second broods of double-brooded species, and others late single-brooded insects.Butterflies and Moths|William S. Furneaux
In fact, the latter can be secured only by humming-birds and butterflies because of the length of the tube.Flowers of Mountain and Plain|Edith S. Clements
noun plural -flies
Word Origin for butterfly
Old English buttorfleoge, evidently butter (n.) + fly (n.), but of obscure signification. Perhaps based on the old notion that the insects (or witches disguised as butterflies) consume butter or milk that is left uncovered. Or, less creatively, simply because the pale yellow color of many species' wings suggests the color of butter. Another theory connects it to the color of the insect's excrement, based on Dutch cognate boterschijte. An overview of words for "butterfly" in various languages can be found here. Also see papillon.
Applied to persons from c.1600, originally in reference to vain and gaudy attire; by 1806 in reference to transformation from early lowly state; in reference to flitting tendencies by 1873. The swimming stroke so called from 1936. Butterflies "light stomach spasms caused by anxiety" is from 1908.
The butterfly effect is a deceptively simple insight extracted from a complex modern field. As a low-profile assistant professor in MIT's department of meteorology in 1961, [Edward] Lorenz created an early computer program to simulate weather. One day he changed one of a dozen numbers representing atmospheric conditions, from .506127 to .506. That tiny alteration utterly transformed his long-term forecast, a point Lorenz amplified in his 1972 paper, "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" [Peter Dizikes, "The Meaning of the Butterfly," The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008]