• synonyms

horse fly

  1. any bloodsucking, usually large fly of the family Tabanidae, especially of the genus Tabanus, a serious pest of horses, cattle, etc.
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Origin of horse fly

1350–1400; Middle English horsfleeye
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for horsefly

Historical Examples of horsefly

  • A horsefly (hoane) lived there at the edge of the mesa in a cavity.

    Seven Mohave Myths

    A. L. Kroeber

  • Tabanidae viridis was not sent just to plague us with horsefly bites.


    Winston Marks

  • As much human affection as you can squeeze out of the60 hind foot of a horsefly!

  • In spite of the humid atmosphere, a buzzing like that of a horsefly, hummed several times above the two visitors.

British Dictionary definitions for horsefly


noun plural -flies
  1. any large stout-bodied dipterous fly of the family Tabanidae, the females of which suck the blood of mammals, esp horses, cattle, and manAlso called: gadfly, cleg
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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 horsefly


late 14c., from horse (n.) + fly (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper