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Lepidoptera

[lep-i-dop-ter-uh]
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noun
  1. the order comprising the lepidopterous insects.
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Origin of Lepidoptera

1725–35; < New Latin; plural of lepidopteron

lepidopteron

[lep-i-dop-ter-uh n]
noun, plural lep·i·dop·ter·a [lep-i-dop-ter-uh] /ˌlɛp ɪˈdɒp tər ə/.
  1. any lepidopterous insect.
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Origin of lepidopteron

< New Latin, equivalent to lepido- lepido- + Greek -pteron, neuter of -pteros -pterous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for lepidoptera

Lepidoptera

n.

1773, "insects with four scaly wings," the biological classification that includes butterflies and moths, coined 1735 in Modern Latin by Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linné, 1707-1778) from Greek lepido-, comb. form of lepis (genitive lepidos) "(fish) scale" (related to lepein "to peel;" see leper) + pteron "wing, feather" (see pterodactyl).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper