• synonyms


  1. plural of elytron.
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noun, plural el·y·tra [el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/.
  1. one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings.
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Origin of elytron

1745–55; < New Latin < Greek élytron a covering
Also called wing case, wing cover.
Related formsel·y·trous [el-i-truh s] /ˈɛl ɪ trəs/, adjective


[el-i-truh m]
noun, plural el·y·tra [el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/. Obsolete.
  1. elytron.
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Origin of elytrum

Latinized variant of elytron
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elytra

Historical Examples of elytra

  • The elytra are soldered at the median edge, so that it cannot spread its wings to fly.

    The Industries of Animals

    Frdric Houssay

  • Scutellar angle: of elytra is next to the scutel when wing is expanded.

  • Elytra entire at the sides; intermediate tibi with two spurs.

  • More, the wings are of the colour of the elytra, and without any white spots.

    Everyday Objects

    W. H. Davenport Adams

  • Elytra also, as far as my observation goes, are never diaphanous.

British Dictionary definitions for elytra


elytrum (ˈɛlɪtrəm)

noun plural -tra (-trə)
  1. either of the horny front wings of beetles and some other insects, which cover and protect the hind wings
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Derived Formselytroid or elytrous, adjective

Word Origin for elytron

C18: from Greek elutron sheath, covering
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 elytra


1774, plural of elytron "hardened wing of an insect," from Greek elytron "sheath," from elyein "to roll round," from PIE root *wel- "to turn, roll," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects (see volvox).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

elytra in Science


Plural elytra
  1. Either of the modified forewings of a beetle or related insect that encase the thin hind wings used in flight.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.