ovi·​pos·​i·​tor ˈō-və-ˌpä-zə-tər How to pronounce ovipositor (audio)
: a specialized organ (as of an insect) for depositing eggs see insect illustration

Examples of ovipositor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The female adult lays an egg just below the surface of a leaflet with her sharp ovipositor. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Aug. 2023 It is used for protection, and also the ovipositor is used for laying eggs. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 24 June 2023 Male wasps lack this defense, because stingers evolved from a female egg-laying organ called an ovipositor. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Dec. 2022 Depending on the species of dragonfly, females deposit eggs directly into ponds, streams, or other bodies of water, or inject their eggs into plants growing in or near water with an organ called an ovipositor, said Mass Audubon. Don Lyman, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Aug. 2022 But female cicadas lay their eggs in twigs and small branches after cutting grooves in them with a sharp organ called an ovipositor on its abdomen. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2021 Females lay their eggs After male and female cicadas hook up, the females slice into small tree branches using their ovipositor—a saw-like organ—and lay nests of 20 to 30 eggs at a time. Rebecca Katzman, Time, 12 May 2021 The wasp grabs hold of the caterpillar and drives its ovipositor into the squishy body, injecting a single egg. Matt Simon, Wired, 9 Nov. 2020 Anna Ward for The Forbes Lab, The University of Iowa To deposit its eggs, the parasitic oak gall wasp pierces a leaf or stem with its ovipositor, a long tubelike organ that would be a stinger if this wasp were the kind that stings. Joanna Klein, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2019 See More

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

Word History


New Latin, from Latin ov- + positor one that places, from ponere to place — more at position

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ovipositor was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near ovipositor

Cite this Entry

“Ovipositor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ovipositor. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ovi·​pos·​i·​tor ˈō-və-ˌpäz-ət-ər How to pronounce ovipositor (audio)
: a specialized organ (as of an insect) for depositing eggs

Medical Definition


ovi·​pos·​i·​tor ˈō-və-ˌpäz-ət-ər, ˌō-və-ˈ How to pronounce ovipositor (audio)
: a specialized organ (as of an insect) for depositing eggs

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