- one of a numerous class of lesser deities of mythology, conceived of as beautiful maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, woods, trees, mountains, meadows, etc., and frequently mentioned as attending a superior deity.
- a beautiful or graceful young woman.
- a maiden.
- the young of an insect that undergoes incomplete metamorphosis.
Origin of nymph
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for nymph
Taurus draws on the myth of Io, the nymph who was turned into a snow-white cow.Horoscopes: May 8-14
Starsky + Cox
May 7, 2011
It was a dressing-room for a nymph of the woods, for a dryad, for Diana herself.The Innocent Adventuress
Mary Hastings Bradley
A nymph with bright and flowing hair; a hag like Hecuba, by Jove!Tom Burke Of "Ours", Volume I (of II)
Charles James Lever
She was dressed as a country girl, but looked as lovely as a nymph.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
But Verelst, scowling at the dial which the legs of the nymph upheld, removed his glasses.The Paliser case
He, men say, was sprung of Faunus and the nymph Marica of Laurentum.The Aeneid of Virgil
- myth a spirit of nature envisaged as a beautiful maiden
- mainly poetic a beautiful young woman
- the immature form of some insects, such as the dragonfly and mayfly, and certain arthropods. Nymphs resemble the adult, apart from having underdeveloped reproductive organs and (in the case of insects) wings, and develop into the adult without a pupal stage
Word Origin and History for nymph
late 14c., "class of semi-divine female beings," from Old French nimphe (13c.), from Latin nympha "nymph, demi-goddess; bride, mistress, young woman," from Greek nymphe "bride, young wife," later "beautiful young woman," then "semi-divine being in the form of a beautiful maiden;" related to Latin nubere "to marry, wed" (see nuptial). Sub-groups include dryads, hamadryads, naiads, nereids, and oreads. Sense in English of "young woman, girl" is attested from 1580s. Meaning "insect stage between larva and adult" is recorded from 1570s. Related: Nymphal; nymphean.
- The immature form of those insects that do not pass through a pupal stage. Nymphs usually resemble the adults, but are smaller, lack fully developed wings, and are sexually immature. Compare imago larva pupa.