plural noun

: a widely distributed family of wasps (superfamily Vespoidea) containing the social wasps that live in colonies like bees, produce workers as well as perfect females and males, feed on various animal or vegetable matter but usually do not store up supplies since their colonies are destroyed by the cold season, and build nests which generally consist of or contain one or more combs of papery material that is usually horizontally placed so that the cells are vertical and with the open end down compare polistes, vespa, vespula; hornet, yellow jacket

Word History


New Latin, from Vespa, type genus + -idae

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near Vespidae

Cite this Entry

“Vespidae.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!