caterpillar

noun, often attributive
cat·​er·​pil·​lar | \ ˈka-tər-ˌpi-lər How to pronounce caterpillar (audio) , -tə-\

Definition of caterpillar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the elongated wormlike larva of a butterfly or moth also : any of various similar larvae

Caterpillar

trademark

Definition of Caterpillar (Entry 2 of 2)

used for a tractor made for use on rough or soft ground and moved on two endless metal belts

Examples of caterpillar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sloths now join hummingbirds, caterpillars, spiders, and a variety of fish as some of the animals that researchers are actively learning from. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Robotic Sloth Is Purposely Slow," 30 May 2019 Other animal inspirations have come from caterpillars, fish, and spiders. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hummingbird Robots 1, Drones 0," 13 May 2019 Hand picking is also effective for tomato hornworms, 4-inch green caterpillars with white stripes. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "The Secret to Growing the Most Flavorful Eggplants," 27 July 2018 Every day, for instance, Mr. Heinrich sees the same Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar in the same spot on a leaf near his cabin in Maine. Hugh Raffles, WSJ, "‘A Naturalist at Large’ Review: The Habit of Taking a Closer Look," 30 Aug. 2018 In episode 3, Ash catches a Caterpie, a purring caterpillar Pokémon who has a conversation with Pikachu while the pair stargaze, existentially awed by the vastness of the universe. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Today’s weird kids’ YouTube channels have nothing on the first season of Pokémon," 8 Sep. 2018 Just as the caterpillar is trapped in the darkness of its cocoon before emerging as a butterfly, destruction will always precede growth. Ebonee Davis, Harper's BAZAAR, "Model Ebonee Davis on How Suffering Leads to Power," 3 Nov. 2017 New inquiries keep him busy day and night and prompt contemplation of previous caterpillar encounters. Hugh Raffles, WSJ, "‘A Naturalist at Large’ Review: The Habit of Taking a Closer Look," 30 Aug. 2018 Answer: Healthy trees are capable of rebounding from a one-time caterpillar infestation. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Caterpillar invasion isn't end for healthy tree," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caterpillar.' 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 caterpillar

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caterpillar

Noun

Middle English catyrpel, from Anglo-French *catepelose, literally, hairy cat

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Statistics for caterpillar

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for caterpillar

The first known use of caterpillar was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for caterpillar

caterpillar

noun

English Language Learners Definition of caterpillar

: a small creature that is like a worm with many legs and that changes to become a butterfly or moth

caterpillar

noun
cat·​er·​pil·​lar | \ ˈka-tər-ˌpi-lər How to pronounce caterpillar (audio) , ˈka-tə-ˌpi-\

Kids Definition of caterpillar

: the wormlike larva of an insect and usually a butterfly or moth

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More from Merriam-Webster on caterpillar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caterpillar

Spanish Central: Translation of caterpillar

Nglish: Translation of caterpillar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caterpillar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caterpillar

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