butterfly

noun, often attributive
but·​ter·​fly | \ ˈbə-tər-ˌflī How to pronounce butterfly (audio) \

Definition of butterfly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 : something that resembles or suggests a butterfly especially : a person chiefly occupied with the pursuit of pleasure
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 butterflies plural : a feeling of hollowness or queasiness caused especially by emotional or nervous tension or anxious anticipation
5 : a defensive move by a goalie in ice hockey executed by dropping to the knees while spreading the lower legs outward

butterfly

verb
butterflied; butterflying

Definition of butterfly (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to split almost entirely and spread apart a butterflied steak butterflied shrimp

Examples of butterfly in a Sentence

Noun

They competed in the butterfly.

Verb

Butterfly the chicken before roasting.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Made of butterfly pea powder and supposedly good for your hair, skin and nails, the bright blue hue will surely earn your social post a few double taps. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Move over, Tie Dye Frappucino. These 10 drinks and desserts in metro Phoenix were made for Instagram," 12 July 2019 Plant milkweed, porter weed, mist flower, zinnias, salvia, duranta and lantana for late summer butterfly nectar sources. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Fall tomato season is almost here," 12 July 2019 Almost a year after the historic birth of five spiny butterfly rays at the Marine Aquarium of Rio de Janeiro (AquaRio), biologists and veterinarians are preparing to welcome another round of little ones to the family. Jill Langlois, National Geographic, "These baby rays are the first of their kind born in captivity," 12 July 2019 The day the dream died Olympic trials were in Detroit in 1960 and Collins was going for her best event —the butterfly. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "She was 15, a swimmer at Broad Ripple High, when she landed the cover of Sports Illustrated," 10 July 2019 Third graders are taught how to plant flowers for their mothers, and butterfly classes are offered — all related to the garden and memorial fund in connection with April. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Town overcame senseless tragedy. Now, it's vying to be the nation's nicest place," 9 July 2019 The elephant in the room is still the keyboards, which feature the same butterfly style mechanism that Apple’s been using for the fast few years. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple adds True Tone display to the MacBook Air and Touch Bar to the entry-level MacBook Pro," 9 July 2019 Its initial incarnation introduced the butterfly keyboard mechanism that is now common in Apple laptops. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple updates entry-level MacBook Air and Pro, discontinues MacBook," 9 July 2019 There is also a butterfly garden, educational nature center and reptile habitat. Catie Wegman, sun-sentinel.com, "Picture perfect: 12 South Florida spots that are sure to make you Instagram famous," 9 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Learn how to handle raw chicken with this step-by-step guide to butterflying boneless, skinless, chicken breast. Country Living, "How To Butterfly Chicken Video," 21 Sep. 2010 Spatchcocked chicken with fig glaze Serves 4 Also known as butterflying the bird, spatchcocking involves removing the chicken’s backbone with a pair of kitchen shears, and then flattening it before sliding it onto a hot grill. sacbee, "It’s prime time for grilling – try these recipes," 13 June 2017 Spatchcocked chicken with fig glaze Serves 4 Also known as butterflying the bird, spatchcocking involves removing the chicken’s backbone with a pair of kitchen shears, and then flattening it before sliding it onto a hot grill. Sacbee, sacbee.com, "It’s prime time for grilling – try these recipes," 13 June 2017 Slice pork tenderloin lengthwise to butterfly it, but don’t quite slice all the way through: The 2 pieces should remain attached. Melissa Clark, charlotteobserver, "Keep the tender in your pork tenderloin," 6 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'butterfly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of butterfly

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1952, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for butterfly

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for butterfly

The first known use of butterfly was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for butterfly

butterfly

noun

English Language Learners Definition of butterfly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

butterfly

verb

English Language Learners Definition of butterfly (Entry 2 of 2)

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

butterfly

noun
but·​ter·​fly | \ ˈbə-tər-ˌflī How to pronounce butterfly (audio) \
plural butterflies

Kids Definition of butterfly

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

butterfly

noun
but·​ter·​fly | \ -ˌflī How to pronounce butterfly (audio) \
plural butterflies

Medical Definition of butterfly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

butterfly

adjective

Medical Definition of butterfly (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on butterfly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with butterfly

Spanish Central: Translation of butterfly

Nglish: Translation of butterfly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of butterfly for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about butterfly

Comments on butterfly

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