hov·​er·​fly | \ ˈhə-vər-ˌflī How to pronounce hoverfly (audio) , ˈhä- \

Definition of hoverfly

: any of a family (Syrphidae) of dipteran flies that are noted for frequenting flowers and hovering at one place in the air and include some whose larvae prey on plant lice

called also syrphid fly

Examples of hoverfly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To glean insights from the hoverfly, the team spent more than a decade carefully studying the neuronal pathways of its eyes and measuring their electrical responses to light. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, 20 Apr. 2022 For this study, the researchers examined the hoverfly’s visual system to develop a tool that uses similar mechanisms to clean up noisy data. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, 20 Apr. 2022 What’s more, some of the most important hoverfly species are migratory, so huge numbers can turn up and far outnumber honeybees at crucial times of the year. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Mar. 2021 There have also been reports of great hoverfly migrations in the US, Nepal and Australia, suggesting that the phenomenon is widespread. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Mar. 2021 Chiffchaffs and willow warblers sing in the sallow and alder, while every leaf seems to hold a butterfly or dragonfly or hoverfly. The Economist, 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoverfly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hoverfly

1881, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About hoverfly

Time Traveler for hoverfly

Time Traveler

The first known use of hoverfly was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near hoverfly



hover hawk

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hoverfly

Cite this Entry

“Hoverfly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoverfly. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!