plural noun, singular can·thar·is [kan-thar-is] /kænˈθær ɪs/.

Origin of cantharides

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin, plural of cantharis < Greek kantharís blister fly

Spanish fly


Also called cantharides. a preparation of powdered blister beetles, especially the Spanish fly, used medicinally as a counterirritant, diuretic, and aphrodisiac.
Also Span·ish·fly. Also called cantharis. a common European blister beetle, Cantharis (Lytta) vesicatoria, that yields this preparation.

Origin of Spanish fly

First recorded in 1400–50; so called from the fact that the beetles are found in abundance in Spain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cantharides

Historical Examples of cantharides

British Dictionary definitions for cantharides


pl n singular cantharis (ˈkænθərɪs)

a diuretic and urogenital stimulant or irritant prepared from the dried bodies of Spanish fly (family Meloidae, not Cantharidae), once thought to be an aphrodisiacAlso called: Spanish fly

Word Origin for cantharides

C15: from Latin, plural of cantharis, from Greek kantharis Spanish fly

Spanish fly


a European blister beetle, Lytta vesicatoria (family Meloidae), the dried bodies of which yield the pharmaceutical product cantharides
another name for cantharides
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