monarch butterfly


: a large migratory American butterfly (Danaus plexippus) that has orange-brown wings with black veins and borders and a larva that feeds on milkweed

Illustration of monarch butterfly

Illustration of monarch butterfly

Examples of monarch butterfly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web March 12 is National Plant a Flower Day, and folks can celebrate it by planting some milkweed and starting a pollinator garden to help the dwindling numbers of monarch butterflies. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2024 For 36 years, her family has worked to commercialize milkweed, a wild plant that produces a strong fiber and is the only thing that the caterpillars of imperiled monarch butterflies will eat. Lydia Depillis, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 The dinner's backdrop will be a canvas of American monarch butterflies and Australian Cairns Birdwing butterflies against roses and delphinium for the U.S. and eucalyptus for Australia. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 24 Oct. 2023 On one of her nails, the white French tip was replaced with a monarch butterfly wing. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 2 Apr. 2024 The event spotlights local wildlife in the Southwest region, including monarch butterflies. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Mar. 2024 Initial impressions of Gracie’s relationships with her neighbors and her eldest son (Cory Michael Smith) also mutate over the course of the movie — not unlike the monarch butterflies that Joe keeps in special habitats throughout their home., 17 Nov. 2023 After discovering several caterpillars in her backyard, Lawson decided to raise monarch butterflies in her garden as well. Kailyn Brown, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2024 While the butterfly wintered in Mexico, the organization found that the eastern monarch butterfly colonies took up 2.2 acres of regional forests. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monarch butterfly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of monarch butterfly was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near monarch butterfly

Cite this Entry

“Monarch butterfly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

monarch butterfly

: a large orange and black American butterfly that migrates in large numbers in the spring and fall and whose larva feeds on milkweed

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