larva

noun
lar·​va | \ ˈlär-və How to pronounce larva (audio) \
plural larvae\ ˈlär-​(ˌ)vē How to pronounce larva (audio) , -​ˌvī \ also larvas

Definition of larva

1 : the immature, wingless, and often wormlike feeding form that hatches from the egg of many insects, alters chiefly in size while passing through several molts, and is finally transformed into a pupa or chrysalis (see chrysalis sense 1a) from which the adult emerges
2 : the early form of an animal (such as a frog or sea urchin) that at birth or hatching is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose before assuming the adult characters

Other Words from larva

larval \ ˈlär-​vəl How to pronounce larva (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for larva

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of larva in a Sentence

The larva of a butterfly is called a caterpillar. the larva looked ugly, but it was destined to hatch into a beautiful butterfly
Recent Examples on the Web Patterning associated with textiles merges with kaleidoscopic dance routines of a larva-world Busby Berkeley. Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Work in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is particularly far along, both in the larva (which has about 10,000 neurons) and in the adult (with about 135,000 neurons). Quanta Magazine, 6 Dec. 2021 Wood bark or medicinal herbs in the passengers’ bags also carried insects, larva and potential plant disease, which were sent to an entomologist and pathologist at the Department of Agriculture, according to Customs and Border Protection. Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 The silkworm is the larva of Bombyx mori, the domestic silk moth. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 July 2021 Docker had previously proposed another model of lamprey evolution that involves an ancestor with some traits of both larva and adult. Philip Kiefer, Popular Science, 11 Mar. 2021 The majority of its work entails targeted treatments of standing water inside the city, using larva-eating fish and chemical larvicides applied directly to the water. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Mar. 2021 The wasp larva eats the moth egg from the inside, and a wasp hatches. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Feb. 2021 This observation not only revealed a key sensor used in the egg-laying process but also confirmed the critical importance of proper egg placement—a larva that hatched in the wrong place usually died without finding the roach's weak spot. Kenneth C. Catania, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of larva

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for larva

New Latin, from Latin, specter, mask; akin to Latin lar Lar

Learn More About larva

Dictionary Entries Near larva

Larus

larva

Larvacea

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for larva

Last Updated

10 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Larva.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/larva. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for larva

larva

noun
lar·​va | \ ˈlär-və How to pronounce larva (audio) \
plural larvae\ -​vē \

Kids Definition of larva

1 : a young wingless form (as a grub or caterpillar) of many insects that hatches from an egg
2 : an early form of any animal (as a frog) that at birth or hatching is very different from its parents

larva

noun
lar·​va | \ ˈlär-və How to pronounce larva (audio) \
plural larvae\ -​(ˌ)vē How to pronounce larva (audio) , -​ˌvī How to pronounce larva (audio) \ also larvas

Medical Definition of larva

1 : the immature, wingless, and often wormlike feeding form that hatches from the egg of many insects, alters chiefly in size while passing through several molts, and is finally transformed into a pupa or chrysalis from which the adult emerges
2 : the early form of an animal (as a frog) that at birth or hatching is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose before assuming the adult characters

Other Words from larva

larval \ -​vəl How to pronounce larva (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on larva

Nglish: Translation of larva for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of larva for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about larva

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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