chrys·​a·​lis | \ ˈkri-sə-ləs How to pronounce chrysalis (audio) \
plural chrysalides\ kri-​ˈsa-​lə-​ˌdēz How to pronounce chrysalides (audio) \ 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 also : 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

What will the auto world be like when the Detroit show emerges from its cruddy chrysalis? Dan Neil, WSJ, "Big Questions—and a Few Answers—Coming Out of the Detroit Auto Show," 17 Jan. 2019 Daniels led a team of researchers placing about 150 dark blue, bean-sized chrysalises, protected from predators by plastic tubes, near grey nickerbean and blackbead plants in Long Key State Park on Tuesday. Jennifer Kay, Fox News, "Researchers help rare butterfly take flight in Florida Keys," 27 July 2018 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

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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Statistics for chrysalis

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for chrysalis

The first known use of chrysalis was in 1601

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More Definitions for chrysalis



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 How to pronounce chrysalis (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on chrysalis

Spanish Central: Translation of chrysalis

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

Comments on chrysalis

What made you want to look up chrysalis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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