• synonyms


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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elytron

Historical Examples

  • Axis: a small process at base of elytron, upon which it turns.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • Complicant: when one elytron extends over the other and partially covers it.

  • Sometimes the glands are found beneath the disk of the elytron, opening by pores on the surface.

British Dictionary definitions for elytron


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

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

elytron 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.