dam·​sel·​fly ˈdam-zəl-ˌflī How to pronounce damselfly (audio)
: any of numerous odonate insects (suborder Zygoptera) distinguished from dragonflies by laterally projecting eyes and usually stalked wings folded above the body when at rest

Examples of damselfly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Orbiting, stalling, inverting The study team compiled hundreds of slow-motion videos capturing the behaviors of butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, dragonflies and damselflies, and found that the critters were not attracted to faraway lights. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 There are 167 species of dragonflies and damselflies in Wisconsin, according to Jackson. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 7 Sep. 2023 That morning, near Marana, the group picked up rocks at the bottom of the river looking for insect larvae, swung nets to catch adult damselflies and learned how researchers measure population trends. The Arizona Republic, 21 July 2023 Dragonflies and damselflies are carnivorous and eat a lot of small insects. Jenny Krane, Better Homes & Gardens, 18 June 2023 This contradicts many scientific models that suggested global warming would doom predator-prey species such as the damselfly. Maureen MacKey, Fox News, 30 Apr. 2023 Bronzebacks might chase down a damselfly one minute, grab a cricket, or nail a skittering shiner the next. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2023 Wim Vooijs cleverly reduced a damselfly to a series of shimmering light circles to win the Butterflies & Dragonflies category. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 5 Feb. 2023 Also, keep an eye peeled for fish slashing at damselflies or minnows skipping across the surface. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'damselfly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of damselfly was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near damselfly

Cite this Entry

“Damselfly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damselfly. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


dam·​sel·​fly -ˌflī How to pronounce damselfly (audio)
: any of a group of insects that are closely related to the dragonflies, have eyes which stick out on the sides, and fold the wings above the body when at rest compare dragonfly

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