plural noun
lep·i·dop·tera | \ˌle-pə-ˈdäp-tə-rə \

Definition of lepidoptera 

: insects that are lepidopterans

Examples of lepidoptera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Most moths are nocturnal; butterflies are essentially moths that have evolved to be diurnal, or active during the day, says Robert Robbins, a curator of lepidoptera at the National Museum of Natural History. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "What’s the Difference Between Moths and Butterflies and More Questions From Our Readers," 19 Apr. 2018

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

First Known Use of lepidoptera

circa 1773, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of lepidoptera was circa 1773

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More Definitions for lepidoptera


noun plural
lep·i·dop·tera | \ˌlep-ə-ˈdäp-tə-rə \

Medical Definition of lepidoptera 

1 capitalized : a large order of insects comprising the butterflies, moths, and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings usually covered with overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars

2 : insects of the order Lepidoptera

Other Words from lepidoptera

lepidopteran \-rən \ noun or adjective
lepidopterous \-tə-rəs \ adjective

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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