chrys·​a·​lis | \ˈkri-sə-ləs \
plural chrysalides\ kri-​ˈsa-​lə-​ˌdēz \ or chrysalises

Definition of chrysalis 

1a : a pupa of a butterfly broadly : an insect pupa

b : the hardened outer protective layer of a pupa

2 : 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

Illustration of chrysalis

chrysalis 1

Examples of chrysalis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Butterfly caterpillars harden into chrysalises during their pupal stage. Kimberly Fornek,, "Western Springs business owner raises monarch butterflies and promotes conservation," 22 June 2018 Week 4 All of the original caterpillar crew have formed beautiful milky green chrysalises with golden spots on the top of the tank. Larell Scardelli, Good Housekeeping, "How To Raise Monarch Butterflies—And Why You'd Want To," 8 Sep. 2017 In a nod to the artistic technique of pouring paint on canvas, Cruz suspends chrysalises above watercolor paper. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 But give the hapless performer vocabulary points for using the word chrysalis. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'America's Got Talent:' The 5 craziest auditions, plus that just-too-weird reject," 19 June 2018 The chrysalis slowly faded from a jade green to clear, revealing orange wings. Larell Scardelli, Good Housekeeping, "How To Raise Monarch Butterflies—And Why You'd Want To," 8 Sep. 2017 Instead, transfer them to carrot-family weeds such as Queen Anne’s lace, and watch for chrysalises to form, and later, beautiful butterflies! The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need To Know To Grow Beautiful Carrots," 30 Aug. 2017 The filmmakers use micro-filming to get an up-close view of the life of a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to the emergence of the mature butterfly. David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle, "What’s on TV, April 4: ‘MLK’ honored, ‘National Treasure’ back on Hulu," 4 Apr. 2018 Nearly every track invokes some kind of natural wonder; the northern lights, a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, flowers growing from concrete and blooming in shadows, a rainbow beaming above. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Kacey Musgraves' 'Golden Hour' may be 2018's best album yet," 29 Mar. 2018

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

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chrysalis

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

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Time Traveler for chrysalis

The first known use of chrysalis was in 1601

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English Language Learners Definition of chrysalis

: 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


chrys·​a·​lis | \ˈkris-ə-ləs \

Kids Definition of chrysalis

1 : a moth or butterfly pupa that is enclosed in a hardened protective case

2 : the hardened protective case made by and enclosing a moth or butterfly pupa

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Spanish Central: Translation of chrysalis

Nglish: Translation of chrysalis for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about chrysalis

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