noun \ˈin-ˌsekt\

: a small animal that has six legs and a body formed of three parts and that may have wings

: an animal (such as a spider) that is similar to an insect

Full Definition of INSECT

a :  any of numerous small invertebrate animals (as spiders or centipedes) that are more or less obviously segmented —not used technically
b :  any of a class (Insecta) of arthropods (as bugs or bees) with well-defined head, thorax, and abdomen, only three pairs of legs, and typically one or two pairs of wings
:  a trivial or contemptible person
insect adjective

Examples of INSECT

  1. a swarm of flying insects
  2. <the magazine's editor in chief was notorious for treating staffers as insects, often not even bothering to learn their names>

Illustration of INSECT

Origin of INSECT

Latin insectum, from neuter of insectus, past participle of insecare to cut into, from in- + secare to cut — more at saw
First Known Use: 1601


noun \ˈin-ˌsekt\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of INSECT

: any arthropod of the class Insecta
insect adjective


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Body plan of a generalized insect. The body is usually divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen. …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Any member of the class Insecta, the largest arthropod class, including nearly 1 million known species (about three-fourths of all animals) and an estimated 5–10 million undescribed species. Insect bodies have three segments: head, thorax (which bears three pairs of legs and usually two pairs of wings), and many-segmented abdomen. Many species undergo complete metamorphosis. There are two subclasses: Apterygota (primitive, wingless forms, including silverfish and bristletails) and Pterygota (more advanced, winged or secondarily wingless forms). The approximately 27 orders of Pterygota are generally classified by wing form: e.g., Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (dipterans), Heteroptera (bugs). Insects are found in almost all terrestrial and freshwater and some marine habitats.


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