- 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 nymph on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for nymphs
A disappointment: why nothing about nymphs and satyrs in mythology?Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Raw Performance in ‘Nymphomaniac’ Is Not About the Sex
March 21, 2014
You know, swimming in lakes, collecting miniature butterflies and putting them in boxes and writing letters to nymphs.Indie Rock's Bewitching New Siren
May 7, 2009
Do you not perceive that I am already overtaken by the Nymphs to whom you have mischievously exposed me?
Judging from the ornaments and images, this must be a spot sacred to Achelous and the Nymphs.
At the portal had stood two nymphs, now almost classic with decay.In a Little Town
We are thy fleet, Idaean pines from the holy hill, now nymphs of the sea.The Aeneid of Virgil
And fauns and nymphs and satyrs echoed that shout most joyously.A Book of Myths
- 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 nymphs
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.
Female spirits of classical mythology who lived in forests, bodies of water, and other places outdoors.