[ frit-l-er-ee ]
/ ˈfrɪt lˌɛr i /

noun, plural frit·il·lar·ies.

any of several orange-brown nymphalid butterflies, usually marked with black lines and dots and with silvery spots on the undersides of the wings.

Nearby words

  1. frit fly,
  2. frites,
  3. frith,
  4. frithstool,
  5. fritillaria,
  6. frittata,
  7. fritter,
  8. fritter away,
  9. fritto misto,
  10. fritz

Origin of fritillary

From New Latin, dating back to 1625–35; see origin at fritillaria Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fritillary

British Dictionary definitions for fritillary


/ (frɪˈtɪlərɪ) /

noun plural -laries

any N temperate liliaceous plant of the genus Fritillaria, having purple or white drooping bell-shaped flowers, typically marked in a chequered patternSee also snake's head
any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genera Argynnis, Boloria, etc, having brownish wings chequered with black and silver

Word Origin for fritillary

C17: from New Latin fritillāria, from Latin fritillus dice box; probably with reference to the spotted markings

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 fritillary



type of butterfly, 1857, earlier a type of plant (Fritillaria Meleagris, 1633), from Latin fritillus "dice-box," from fritinnire "to twitter," imitative of the rattle of dice. The butterfly so called perhaps from resemblance of its markings to those of dice; or the names may have been given in confusion, perhaps on the notion that fritillus meant "chessboard."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper