- the wormlike larva of a butterfly or a moth.
- a person who preys on others; extortioner.
Origin of caterpillar
- a tractor intended for rough terrain, propelled by two endless belts or tracks that pass over a number of wheels.
Examples from the Web for caterpillar
Contemporary Examples of caterpillar
Nearby, a yellow Caterpillar excavator sits idle next to an opening that once led into a cross-border tunnel.How Mexico’s Cartels Are Behind the Border Kid Crisis
July 9, 2014
Her father worked for Caterpillar and was a member of the United Auto Workers.Could a Pro-Pot Lesbian Become the Next Governor of Maryland?
March 11, 2014
Caterpillar notched record profits in 2012 and then in early 2013 bludgeoned its unions into accepting a six-year wage freeze.
“I always try to communicate to our people that we can never make enough money,” as Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman put it.
May I recommend the one featuring a picture of the dome from The Dome of the Rock being demolished by a Caterpillar bulldozer?What Hawking and Jerusalem Day Have in Common
May 13, 2013
Historical Examples of caterpillar
The Tobacco-worm is a caterpillar of the size and figure of a silk-worm.The History of Louisiana
Le Page Du Pratz
The caterpillar and the chrysalis belong to the embryonic period.
The caterpillar, for example, resembles the worm which is the ancestor of the insects.
Cossus, because it smells like the caterpillar, Cossus ligniperda.The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise
M. E. Hard
The caterpillar, you mean, boy—eating out its heart and its vitals.The Christian
- the wormlike larva of butterflies and moths, having numerous pairs of legs and powerful biting jaws. It may be brightly coloured, hairy, or spiny
Word Origin for caterpillar
- an endless track, driven by sprockets or wheels, used to propel a heavy vehicle and enable it to cross soft or uneven ground
- a vehicle, such as a tractor, tank, bulldozer, etc, driven by such tracks
mid-15c., catyrpel, probably altered (by association with Middle English piller "plunderer;" see pillage) from Old North French caterpilose "caterpillar" (Old French chatepelose), literally "shaggy cat" (probably in reference to the "wooly-bear" variety), from Late Latin catta pilosa, from catta "cat" (see cat (n.)) + pilosus "hairy, shaggy, covered with hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). Cf. also French chenille "caterpillar," literally "little dog." A Swiss German name for it is teufelskatz "devil's cat." "The caterpillar has in many idioms received the name of other animals" [Kitchin, who cites also Milanese cagnon "little dog," Italian dialectal gattola "little cat," Kentish hop-dog, hop-cat, Portuguese lagarta "lizard." Cf. also American English wooly-bear for the hairy variety. An Old English name for it was cawelworm "cole-worm." Caterpillar tractor is from 1908.
- The wormlike larva of a butterfly or moth. Caterpillars have thirteen body segments, with three pairs of stubby legs on the thorax and several on the abdomen, six eyes on each side of the head, and short antennae. Caterpillars feed mostly on foliage and are usually brightly colored. Many have poisonous spines.