strid·​u·​late ˈstri-jə-ˌlāt How to pronounce stridulate (audio)
stridulated; stridulating

intransitive verb

: to make a shrill creaking noise by rubbing together special bodily structures
used especially of male insects (such as crickets or grasshoppers)
stridulation noun
stridulatory adjective

Did you know?

Stridulate is one member of a word family that has its ancestry in the Latin word stridulus, meaning "shrill." The word alludes to the sharp, high-pitched sound that is produced by a number of insects—particularly crickets and grasshoppers but also certain beetles—as well as other animals, usually as a mating call or a signal of territorial behavior. Stridulus comes from stridere, which is the direct source of our noun stridor, a word found in medical dictionaries. Stridor means "a harsh, shrill, or creaking noise" and also "a harsh vibrating sound heard during respiration in cases of obstruction of the air passages."

Examples of stridulate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To convince females of their vigor, males will stridulate, producing sounds that can be heard from several meters away. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 1 Nov. 2017 After a fierce physical altercation, victorious male crabs sometimes stridulate, planting one claw into the ground and rubbing it vigorously with the other to both visibly and audibly revel in their triumph. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 7 Nov. 2017 Decrepit, senile, and miserable, Tithonus eventually shrank into a cicada who stridulated ceaselessly, calling out for release. Tad Friend, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2017

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

Word History


back-formation from stridulation, from French, high-pitched sound, from Latin stridulus shrill

First Known Use

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stridulate was in 1838


Dictionary Entries Near stridulate

Cite this Entry

“Stridulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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