noun chrys·a·lis \ˈkri-sə-ləs\

: a moth or butterfly at the stage of growth when it is turning into an adult and is enclosed in a hard case

: a hard case that protects a moth or butterfly while it is turning into an adult

plural chry·sal·i·des \kri-ˈsa-lə-ˌdēz\ or chrys·a·lis·es

Full Definition of CHRYSALIS

a :  a pupa of a butterfly; broadly :  an insect pupa
b :  the hardened outer protective layer of a pupa
:  a protecting covering :  a sheltered state or stage of being or growth <a budding writer could not emerge from his chrysalis too soon — William Du Bois>

Illustration of CHRYSALIS


Latin chrysallid-, chrysallis gold-colored pupa of butterflies, from Greek, from chrysos gold, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew ḥārūṣ gold
First Known Use: 1601

Other Insect Terms

drone, entomology, gadfly, pismire, proboscis, vespine
CHRYSALISES Defined for Kids


noun chrys·a·lis \ˈkris-ə-ləs\

Definition of CHRYSALIS for Kids

:  a moth or butterfly pupa that is enclosed in a hardened protective case
:  the hardened protective case made by and enclosing a moth or butterfly pupa


Next Word in the Dictionary: chrysaloidPrevious Word in the Dictionary: chrysalidAll Words Near: chrysalis
July 03, 2015
interpellate Hear it
to formally question a public official
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears