[lep-i-dop-ter-uh n]
  1. a lepidopterous insect.

Origin of lepidopteran

First recorded in 1850–55; Lepidopter(a) + -an
Related formsnon·lep·i·dop·ter·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for lepidopteran


noun Also: lepidopteron plural -terans or -tera (-tərə)
  1. any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, typically having two pairs of wings covered with fragile scales, mouthparts specialized as a suctorial proboscis, and caterpillars as larvae: comprises the butterflies and moths
adjective Also: lepidopterous
  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the order Lepidoptera

Word Origin for lepidopteran

C19: from New Latin lepidoptera, from lepido- + Greek pteron wing
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

lepidopteran in Science


  1. Any of various insects of the order Lepidoptera, characterized by four large, flat, membranous wings covered with small scales. The larvae of lepidopterans are caterpillars. Lepidopterans include butterflies, moths, and skippers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.