larva

play
noun lar·va \ˈlär-və\

Definition of larva

plural

larvae

play \-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\ also

larvas

  1. 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. 2 :  the early form of an animal (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 \-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>

Origin and Etymology of larva

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


First Known Use: 1768


LARVA Defined for English Language Learners

larva

play
noun lar·va \ˈlär-və\

Definition of larva for English Language Learners

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


LARVA Defined for Kids

larva

play
noun lar·va \ˈlär-və\

Definition of larva for Students

plural

larvae

\-vē\
  1. 1 :  a young wingless form (as a grub or caterpillar) of many insects that hatches from an egg

  2. 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

play
noun lar·va \ˈlär-və\

Medical Definition of larva

plural

larvae

\-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\play play also

larvas

  1. 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. 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

\-vəl\play adjective


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up larva? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

very important or noticeable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ