glos·​sa ˈglä-sə How to pronounce glossa (audio)
plural glossae ˈglä-ˌsē How to pronounce glossa (audio)
also glossas
: a tongue or lingual structure especially in an insect
especially : the median distal lobe of the labium of an insect

Examples of glossa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One lap of a bee's tongue—from stretching out the glossa to extending the hairs like an umbrella and folding everything up again—lasts just 400 milliseconds. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 13 Jan. 2015 This picture focuses on the bee's tongue, called the glossa. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 The honeybee's tongue, called a glossa, is about 2.5 millimeters long in this species. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 13 Jan. 2015

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

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Greek glôssa "tongue" — more at gloss entry 3

First Known Use

circa 1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glossa was circa 1852

Dictionary Entries Near glossa

Cite this Entry

“Glossa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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