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Spanish fly

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noun
  1. Also called cantharides. a preparation of powdered blister beetles, especially the Spanish fly, used medicinally as a counterirritant, diuretic, and aphrodisiac.
  2. Also Span·ish·fly. Also called cantharis. a common European blister beetle, Cantharis (Lytta) vesicatoria, that yields this preparation.
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Origin of Spanish fly

First recorded in 1400–50; so called from the fact that the beetles are found in abundance in Spain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spanish fly

Historical Examples

  • In India also a species of Meloe is used,194 possessing all the properties of the Spanish-fly.

    Curious Facts in the History of Insects; Including Spiders and Scorpions.

    Frank Cowan

  • In cases where the growth of horn seems too slow a Spanish-fly blister applied to the heels is often followed by good results.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture


British Dictionary definitions for spanish fly

Spanish fly

noun
  1. a European blister beetle, Lytta vesicatoria (family Meloidae), the dried bodies of which yield the pharmaceutical product cantharides
  2. another name for cantharides
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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