Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

butterfly

play
noun, often attributive but·ter·fly \-ˌflī\

Simple Definition of butterfly

  • : a kind of insect that has a long thin body and brightly colored wings and that flies mostly during the day

  • : a person who goes to many parties and other social events

  • : a way of swimming in which the swimmer's face is in the water and the arms move together in a circular motion while the legs kick up and down; also : a race in which the swimmers do the butterfly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of butterfly

  1. 1 :  any of numerous slender-bodied diurnal lepidopteran insects including one superfamily (Papilionoidea) with broad often brightly colored wings and usually another superfamily comprising the skippers

  2. 2 :  something that resembles or suggests a butterfly; especially :  a person chiefly occupied with the pursuit of pleasure

  3. 3 :  a swimming stroke executed in a prone position by moving both arms in a circular motion while kicking both legs up and down

  4. 4 plural :  a feeling of hollowness or queasiness caused especially by emotional or nervous tension or anxious anticipation

  5. 5 :  a defensive move by a goalie in ice hockey executed by dropping to the knees while spreading the lower legs outward

Examples of butterfly in a sentence

  1. They competed in the butterfly.



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of butterfly

before 12th century


2

butterfly

verb but·ter·fly

Simple Definition of butterfly

  • : to cut (food) into two pieces that are joined along one edge so that it can be spread apart for cooking

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of butterfly

butterflied

butterflying

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to split almost entirely and spread apart <a butterflied steak> <butterflied shrimp>

Examples of butterfly in a sentence

  1. Butterfly the chicken before roasting.



1954

First Known Use of butterfly

1954

Rhymes with butterfly

abide by, Adonai, alibi, alkali, amplify, apple-pie, argufy, assegai, azo dye, basify, beautify, by-and-by, caddis fly, calcify, certify, Chou En-lai, citify, clarify, classify, coalify, cockneyfy, codify, college try, cottage pie, crucify, cut-and-try, cutie-pie, DIY, damnify, damselfly, dandify, deify, densify, dignify, dobsonfly, do-or-die, dragonfly, dulcify, eagle eye, edify, evil eye, falsify, fancify, fortify, frenchify, fructify, gasify, Gemini, gentrify, glorify, goggle-eye, goldeneye, gratify, Haggai, harvest fly, hexerei, high and dry, hip and thigh, Hokusai, hook and eye, horrify, hoverfly, humble pie, Iceni, justify, kiss good-bye, lazy eye, lignify, liquefy, lithify, Lorelei, lullaby, Madurai, magnify, Malachi, Maracay, minify, modify, mollify, Molokai, Mordecai, mortify, multi-ply, multiply, mummify, mystify, nazify, notify, nullify, occupy, old school tie, on standby, on the fly, ossify, overbuy, overfly, overlie, pacify, Paraguay, passerby, peccavi, petrify, PPI, preachify, prettify, private eye, prophesy, purify, putrefy, qualify, quantify, ramify, rarefy, ratify, RBI, rectify, reify, res gestae, robber fly, runner's high, Russify, samurai, sanctify, satisfy, scarify, schwarmerei, semidry, set store by, shepherd's pie, shoofly pie, signify, simplify, Spanish fly, specify, speechify, stratify, stultify, stupefy, sweetie pie, Tenebrae, terrify, testify, tie-and-dye, tigereye, Trans Alai, tumble dry, typify, uglify, underlie, unify, Uruguay, Veneti, verify, versify, vilify, vinify, vitrify, vivify, weather eye, Windsor tie, xanthene dye, yuppify, zombify


BUTTERFLY Defined for Kids

butterfly

play
noun but·ter·fly \ˈbə-tər-ˌflī\

Definition of butterfly for Students

plural

butterflies

  1. :  an insect that has a slender body and large colored wings covered with tiny overlapping scales and that flies mostly in the daytime




Medical Dictionary

1

butterfly

play
noun but·ter·fly \-ˌflī\

Medical Definition of butterfly

plural

butterflies

  1. 1plural :  a feeling of hollowness or queasiness caused especially by emotional or nervous tension or anxious anticipation

  2. 2:  butterfly bandage




2

butterfly

adjective but·ter·fly

Medical Definition of butterfly

  1. :  affecting the part of the face including the cheeks and the bridge of the nose <the typical butterfly lesion of lupus erythematosus>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up butterfly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a jerking and twitching of the body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

hiemal vernal brumal estival
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ