\ ˈwäsp How to pronounce wasp (audio) , ˈwȯsp \

Definition of wasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of numerous social or solitary winged hymenopterous insects (especially families Sphecidae and Vespidae) that usually have a slender smooth body with the abdomen attached by a narrow stalk, well-developed wings, biting mouthparts, and in the females and workers an often formidable sting, and that are largely carnivorous and often provision their nests with insects or spiders killed or paralyzed by stinging for their larvae to feed on — compare bee
2 : any of various hymenopterous insects (such as a chalcid or ichneumon wasp) other than wasps with larvae that are parasitic on other arthropods

WASP

noun (2), often attributive
\ ˈwäsp How to pronounce WASP (audio) , ˈwȯsp \
variants: or Wasp

Definition of WASP (Entry 2 of 2)

sometimes disparaging
: an American of Northern European and especially British ancestry and of Protestant background especially : a member of the dominant and the most privileged class of people in the U.S.

Illustration of wasp

Illustration of wasp

Noun (1)

wasp 1

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from wasp

Noun (1)

wasplike \ ˈwäsp-​ˌlīk How to pronounce wasplike (audio) , ˈwȯsp-​ \ adjective

Noun (2)

Waspdom \ ˈwäsp-​dəm How to pronounce Waspdom (audio) , ˈwȯsp-​ \ noun, sometimes disparaging
Waspish \ ˈwä-​spish How to pronounce Waspish (audio) , ˈwȯ-​ \ adjective, sometimes disparaging
Waspishness noun, sometimes disparaging

Examples of wasp in a Sentence

Noun (2) Most of the members of the club are wealthy WASPs. The college had been known as a bastion of WASP privilege.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The wasps Brucker and his team examined don’t pollinate crops. Popular Science, "A healthy wasp microbiome can fend off pesticides," 5 Feb. 2020 To understand how the carbon got there, Finch observed modern-day mud wasps over five field seasons. Elizabeth Finkel, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious Australian rock art may depict the chaos following rising seas," 5 Feb. 2020 Researchers aren’t even totally sure what purpose the helmets serve, though many suspect the insects are mimicking their surroundings to either blend in or warn predators to stay away (as a wasp-looking helmet might do). Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Treehoppers’ Bizarre, Wondrous Helmets Use Wing Genes to Grow," 9 Dec. 2019 Don't destroy those covered with tiny white cocoons; these contain the parasitic offspring of the beneficial braconid wasp. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "The Secret to Growing the Most Flavorful Eggplants," 27 July 2018 It isn’t discussed enough, but homeowners and farmers are eager to learn about how many beetles, flies, stink bugs, wasps and other insects are totally beneficial and not harmful in any way. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "Meet our favorite ladybug in disguise," 8 Jan. 2020 With more than 300 species and counting, the genus Idris is a particularly widespread variety of parasitic wasp. Andrea Michelson, Smithsonian, "Tiny Parasitic Wasp Named After Idris Elba Hijacks Stink Bug Eggs," 21 Nov. 2019 Within seconds, the coral snake began thrashing around in an attempt to get rid of the wasp. Ricky Pinela, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida woman captures video of a snake getting stung by a wasp while eating another snake," 18 Oct. 2019 This is the order that includes ants, bees and wasps. Lela Nargi, Washington Post, "Some wasps, flies and ants can turn fellow insects into zombies," 28 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wasp.' 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 wasp

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1948, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wasp

Noun (1)

Middle English waspe, from Old English wæps, wæsp; akin to Old High German wafsa wasp, Latin vespa wasp

Noun (2)

white Anglo-Saxon Protestant

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Time Traveler for wasp

Time Traveler

The first known use of wasp was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wasp

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wasp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wasp. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for wasp

wasp

noun
How to pronounce WASP (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a black-and-yellow flying insect that can sting

WASP

noun
How to pronounce WASP (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of WASP (Entry 2 of 2)

US, often disapproving : an American whose family originally came from northern Europe and especially Britain and who is considered to be part of the most powerful group in society

wasp

noun
\ ˈwäsp How to pronounce wasp (audio) , ˈwȯsp \

Kids Definition of wasp

: a winged insect related to the bee and ant that has a slender body with the abdomen attached by a narrow stalk and that in females and workers is capable of giving a very painful sting

wasp

noun
\ ˈwäsp, ˈwȯsp How to pronounce wasp (audio) \

Medical Definition of wasp

: any of numerous social or solitary winged insects (especially families Sphecidae and Vespidae) of the order Hymenoptera that usually have a slender smooth body with the abdomen attached by a narrow stalk, well-developed wings, biting mouthparts, and in the females and workers an often formidable sting

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More from Merriam-Webster on wasp

Spanish Central: Translation of wasp

Nglish: Translation of wasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wasp for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wasp

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