[si-key-duh, -kah-]

noun, plural ci·ca·das, ci·ca·dae [si-key-dee, -kah-] /sɪˈkeɪ di, -ˈkɑ-/.

any large homopterous insect of the family Cicadidae, the male of which produces a shrill sound by means of vibrating membranes on the underside of the abdomen.

Origin of cicada

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin cicāda Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cicada

Contemporary Examples of cicada

  • As if from some horror movie, cicada nymphs have been described as “boiling out of the ground.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Cicadas are Coming!

    Justin Green

    May 2, 2013

Historical Examples of cicada

  • The creature most commonly called a locust is a cicada, or harvest fly.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • The cicada, it will be remembered, is what is commonly called a locust.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • I have alluded to the egg of the cicada "inserted in the bark of a twig."

    My Studio Neighbors

    William Hamilton Gibson

  • It is true, Zenothemis, that the soul is nourished on ecstasy, as the cicada is nourished on dew.


    Anatole France

  • Only in the trees is heard at intervals the whir of the cicada.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for cicada



noun plural -das, -dae (-diː), -las or -le (-leɪ)

any large broad insect of the homopterous family Cicadidae, most common in warm regions. Cicadas have membranous wings and the males produce a high-pitched drone by vibration of a pair of drumlike abdominal organs

Word Origin for cicada

C19: from Latin
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 cicada

late 14c., from Latin cicada "cicada, tree cricket," not a native Latin word; perhaps a loan-word from a lost Mediterranean language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper