\ˈnim(p)f \

Definition of nymph 

1 : any of the minor divinities of nature in classical mythology represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in the mountains, forests, trees, and waters

2 : girl Fair nymphs, and well-dressed youths around her shone …— Alexander Pope

3 : any of various immature insects especially : a larva of an insect (such as a grasshopper, true bug, or mayfly) with incomplete (see incomplete sense 2) metamorphosis (see metamorphosis sense 2) that differs from the imago (see imago sense 1) especially in size and in its incompletely developed wings and genitalia

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Other Words from nymph

nymphal \ˈnim(p)-fəl \ adjective

Synonyms for nymph


dryad, naiad, oread, wood nymph

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Examples of nymph in a Sentence

she bought the book of fairy tales for the beautiful engravings of nymphs and fairies featured between the stories the neighborhood nymphs were gathered at the local pizza parlor, checking out the hot guys

Recent Examples on the Web

In early summer, as the water warms up, the nymphs rise to the surface of the water and their shells split open. Heather Radke, Longreads, "A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing With Your Father," 16 June 2018 Fly fishermen are also scoring well on black nymphs. sacbee, "Fishing line: Trout action improves near Folsom Dam," 9 Jan. 2018 The nymphs will be rusty red and considerably smaller. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Here’s your gardening to-do list for the second part of the summer," 11 July 2018 Pests controlled: Insecticidal soap sprays are highly effective against mites, aphids, whiteflies, and other soft-bodied insects as well as the softer nymph stages of some tough-bodied bugs. 5. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "The 7 Best Organic Pest Control Techniques For Your Garden," 18 Dec. 2017 Special squashes such as Potimarron or Honey Roaster succumb early to the toxic bite of squash bug nymphs in my garden. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Consider all insect control measures carefully as earwigs, squash bugs move in," 22 June 2018 In episodes spanning a century or so, family dramas mingle with tales of murder in colonial Ceylon, of an Angolan butcher who names his daughter for a sea nymph, of a man who defiantly sticks out his tongue as he is burned alive. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 16 June 2018 But that’s not too long to enjoy David Walker’s French Baroque sets and costumes, or the lively contribution — in roles that range from peasants and nymphs to the fairies’ attendants and Désiré’s hunting party — of the company’s sterling corps. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Ballet reawakens ‘Sleeping Beauty’," 12 May 2018 Some parts feature Minaj looking nymph-like in a forest lake; others focus on a steamy scene in a bedroom half submerged in water. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nicki Minaj Channels Beyoncé's Underwater Shoot in a New Music Video," 1 May 2017

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

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First Known Use of nymph

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nymph

Middle English nimphe, from Middle French, from Latin nympha bride, nymph, from Greek nymphē — more at nuptial

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Dictionary Entries near nymph



nylon salt





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Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for nymph

The first known use of nymph was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of nymph

in stories : a spirit in the shape of a young woman who lives in mountains, forests, meadows, and water

: a young insect that has almost the same form as the adult


\ˈnimf \

Kids Definition of nymph

1 : one of many goddesses in old legends represented as beautiful young women living in the mountains, forests, and waters

2 : an immature insect that differs from the adult chiefly in being of smaller size and having undeveloped wings


\ˈnim(p)f \

Medical Definition of nymph 

1 : any of various hemimetabolous insects in an immature stage and especially a late larva (as of a true bug) in which rudiments of the wings and genitalia are present broadly : any insect larva that differs chiefly in size and degree of differentiation from the imago

2 : a mite or tick in the first eight-legged form that immediately follows the last larval molt

3 : a nymphal stage in the life cycle of an insect or acarid

Other Words from nymph

nymphal \ˈnim(p)-fəl \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on nymph

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nymph

Spanish Central: Translation of nymph

Nglish: Translation of nymph for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nymph for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nymph

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a state of commotion or excitement

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