larva

noun lar·va \ ˈlär-və \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of larva

plural larvae play \ˈlär-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\ also larvas
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 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

larval

play \ˈlär-vəl\ adjective

Examples of larva in a Sentence

  1. The larva of a butterfly is called a caterpillar.

  2. the larva looked ugly, but it was destined to hatch into a beautiful butterfly

Recent Examples of larva from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of larva

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

larva Synonyms

Synonyms
naiad, nymph
Related Words
pupa

LARVA Defined for English Language Learners

larva

noun

Definition of larva for English Language Learners

  • : a very young form of an insect that looks like a worm


LARVA Defined for Kids

larva

noun lar·va \ ˈlär-və \

Definition of larva for Students

plural larvae \-vē\
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

History for larva

To biologists in the 1700s, the adult was the only genuine form of an insect. The stages that come between the egg and the adult in many insects' lives were considered somehow unreal, or at best disguises. These stages were named with the Latin words pupa, “doll,” and larva, which in the Latin of the ancient Romans was a sort of ghostly demon or a mask representing a demon. Although to modern biologists larvae such as caterpillars are as real as adults, the traditional terms larva and pupa remain with us.


Medical Dictionary

larva

noun lar·va \ ˈlär-və \

medical Definition of larva

plural larvae play \-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\ also larvas
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

larval

play \-vəl\ adjective


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