hair·​streak ˈher-ˌstrēk How to pronounce hairstreak (audio)
: any of a subfamily (Theclinae of the family Lycaenidae) of small butterflies usually having striped markings on the underside of the wings and thin filamentous projections from the hind wings

Examples of hairstreak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Overall, American mistletoe is quite a beneficial member of this area’s natural ecosystem, providing early-season flowers for bees, serving as a host plant for the state-rare great purple hairstreak butterfly, and providing food and shelter for an array of bird and mammal species. Miri Talabac,, 20 Jan. 2022 So rather than tract housing, the prairies are home to rare and unusual plants and insects, such as the Acadian hairstreak, bunchgrass skipper and dusky wing butterflies. Paul Eisenberg,, 27 Sep. 2020 Last summer, the elusive white-letter hairstreak butterfly was spotted in Scotland for the first time in 133 years. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 19 Feb. 2018 The Butterfly Conservation team has observed the white-letter hairstreak gradually spreading northwards, possibly due to warming climates. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 19 Feb. 2018 The white-letter hairstreak, which is native to the UK, has come under severe threat in recent years. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 17 Aug. 2017 In 1884, a white-letter hairstreak butterfly was spotted flitting about in Scotland. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 17 Aug. 2017 The Fulvous hairstreak, another brown butterfly that feeds on Brazilian pepper, is now showing up north of Melbourne. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, 7 June 2017 See More

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Word History

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hairstreak was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near hairstreak

Cite this Entry

“Hairstreak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


hair·​streak -ˌstrēk How to pronounce hairstreak (audio)
: any of various small butterflies with hairlike tails sticking out from the hind wings

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