noun pol·is·tes \pōˈliˌstēz\

Definition of polistes

  1. 1 capitalized :  an extensive genus of social wasps that have a spindle-shaped abdomen and wings which fold like a fan, are mostly black with yellow or brown markings, and make nests consisting of a single comb of papery material suspended by a peduncle and having no envelope

  2. 2 plural polistes :  any wasp of the genus Polistes

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of polistes

New Latin, from Greek polistēs founder of a city, from polizein to build a city, from polis city + -izein -ize — more at police

Seen and Heard

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


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

Get Word of the Day daily email!