- any animal of the class Insecta, comprising small, air-breathing arthropods having the body divided into three parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and having three pairs of legs and usually two pairs of wings.
- any small arthropod, such as a spider, tick, or centipede, having a superficial, general similarity to the insects.Compare arachnid.
- a contemptible or unimportant person.
- of, pertaining to, like, or used for or against insects: an insect bite; insect powder.
Origin of insect
Examples from the Web for insect
Bats are crucial to the ecosystem, performing extremely valuable jobs like pollination and insect control.Bats’ Link to Ebola Finally Solved
November 12, 2014
When you crush an insect, you have all these long worms uncoiling from the belly.Vampires without Glitter or Girl Problems: Inside Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Strain’
July 14, 2014
The idea could be seen as well on cocktail looks in insect prints with appliqués winged insects resting on them.Lanvin's Artful Fall Mix
March 1, 2013
The infighting, personality clashes, and insect politics of the academic world is so accurately funny it hurts.Remedial Reader: The Essential Richard Russo
June 20, 2012
An insect is squashed with a “sound like a burst of static.”Great Weekend Reads
The Daily Beast
July 3, 2011
The russet of oranges is caused by the bite of an insect on the skin.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
The paper was a contribution to the life-history of this minute insect.
No; the spirit of a lion is not to be roused by the teasing of an insect.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
There was no sound save the burring of some night insect over his head.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Or that the least insect in Japan has a name twice the length of its body?Monday or Tuesday
- any small air-breathing arthropod of the class Insecta, having a body divided into head, thorax, and abdomen, three pairs of legs, and (in most species) two pairs of wings. Insects comprise about five sixths of all known animal species, with a total of over one million named speciesRelated adjective: entomic
- (loosely) any similar invertebrate, such as a spider, tick, or centipede
- a contemptible, loathsome, or insignificant person
Word Origin and History for insect
c.1600, from Latin (animal) insectum "(animal) with a notched or divided body," literally "cut into," from neuter past participle of insectare "to cut into, to cut up," from in- "into" (see in- (2)) + secare "to cut" (see section (n.)). Pliny's loan-translation of Greek entomon "insect" (see entomology), which was Aristotle's term for this class of life, in reference to their "notched" bodies.
First in English in 1601 in Holland's translation of Pliny. Translations of Aristotle's term also form the usual word for "insect" in Welsh (trychfil, from trychu "cut" + mil "animal"), Serbo-Croatian (zareznik, from rezati "cut"), Russian (nasekomoe, from sekat "cut"), etc.
- Any of numerous usually small arthropod animals of the class Insecta, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen and usually having two pairs of wings.
- Any of various similar arthropod animals, such as spiders, centipedes, or ticks.
- Any of very numerous, mostly small arthropods of the class Insecta, having six segmented legs in the adult stage and a body divided into three parts (the head, thorax, and abdomen). The head has a pair of antennae and the thorax usually has one or two pairs of wings. Most insects undergo substantial change in form during development from the young to the adult stage. More than 800,000 species are known, most of them beetles. Other insects include flies, bees, ants, grasshoppers, butterflies, cockroaches, aphids, and silverfish. See Notes at biomass bug entomology.