Spanish fly

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noun

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

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. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for spanish fly

Spanish fly

noun

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

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