Definition of insect
1a : any of numerous small invertebrate animals (such as spiders or centipedes) that are more or less obviously segmented —not used technicallyb : any of a class (Insecta) of arthropods (such as bugs or bees) with well-defined head, thorax, and abdomen, only three pairs of legs, and typically one or two pairs of wings
2 : a trivial or contemptible person
Examples of insect in a Sentence
a swarm of flying insects
the magazine's editor in chief was notorious for treating staffers as insects, often not even bothering to learn their names
Recent Examples of insect from the Web
Last November, Health Canada proposed a phaseout of imidacloprid, based on risks to aquatic insects, but has delayed a decision until next year.
All preserved in digital amber, like the insect from Jurassic Park.
And genetic sequencing revealed that the bristle worm has its own versions of essential molecular clock genes found in terrestrial insects and vertebrates.
Those insects were detected in Baldwin County in 2008, but no signs of the greening disease were confirmed.
Two of the 10 stories in this collection include an insect landing on a book.
An insect program with the Chicago Field Museum's Jim Louderman will be from noon to 4 p.m. at the Paul H. Douglas Center, 100 North Lake St., Gary.
The museum of country life in Turlough Park, Mayo, is devoted to Irish rural traditions such as farming, hunting, fishing, crafts, trades and such, while the natural history museum is especially noted for its collection of insects.
But ironically, the gluey threads stick less well to insects with unprotected waxy shells.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insect'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The bodies of insects have segments, or divisions, so they appear to have a series of notches cut into them. This led the Greek philosopher Aristotle to give insects the name entomon “a thing cut into.” Entomon comes from the prefix en- “in,” combined with the verb temnein “to cut.” Later, when the Romans wanted a word for this kind of creature, they did not simply borrow the Greek word. Instead they translated it with the Latin word insectum, from the verb insecare “to cut into.” Insectum was borrowed into English as insect.
INSECT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of insect for English Language Learners
: a small animal that has six legs and a body formed of three parts and that may have wings
: an animal (such as a spider) that is similar to an insect
INSECT Defined for Kids
Definition of insect for Students
1 : any of a group of small and often winged animals that are arthropods having six jointed legs and a body formed of a head, thorax, and abdomen Flies, bees, and lice are true insects.
2 : an animal (as a spider or a centipede) similar to the true insects Hint: This meaning is not scientifically accurate but may be encountered in common everyday use.
History for insect
The distinct parts into which insects’ bodies are divided—head, thorax, and abdomen—inspired the Greek name used for them by the philosopher Aristotle: entomon, the “notched” or “segmented” animal. (Entomon is a noun derived from the verb entemnein, “to cut up” or “to cut into.”) The Romans used insectum, a literal translation of Greek entomon, as their name for the creatures, and this Latin word has provided us with the ordinary English word for insects.
Medical Definition of insect
: any arthropod of the class Insecta
Learn More about insect
Seen and Heard
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