mayfly

noun
may·​fly | \ ˈmā-ˌflī How to pronounce mayfly (audio) \

Definition of mayfly

: any of an order (Ephemeroptera) of insects with an aquatic nymph and a short-lived, fragile adult lacking mouthparts and having membranous, heavily veined wings and two or three long, threadlike tails

Note: the wings of the mayfly are held vertically above the body when closed.

called also ephemerid

Illustration of mayfly

Illustration of mayfly

Examples of mayfly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not to mention component and frame standards that have the life expectancy of a mayfly. Josh Patterson, Outside Online, 18 May 2020 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 Significant drops have been found in mayfly populations in the American Midwest, butterfly numbers in the Sierra Nevadas, and caterpillar diversity in northern Costa Rica. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 Some would sip the mouse like a tiny mayfly; others would leap completely out of the water, grabbing the fly on the way down. Chris Santella, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of mayfly

circa 1653, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About mayfly

Time Traveler for mayfly

Time Traveler

The first known use of mayfly was circa 1653

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near mayfly

May-flowering tulip

mayfly

Mayfowl

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mayfly

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mayfly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mayfly. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on mayfly

Nglish: Translation of mayfly for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!