wasp

noun (1)
\ 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

Enormous wasp nests can be found in almost every room. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Insects swarm over Flo-Gris as part of ’Fragile Earth’ exhibit," 6 June 2019 Both terrestrial and marine arthropods, including mites, spiders, millipedes, beetles, and wasps, were found in this amber, which dates back to the mid-Cretaceous era. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "A Squid-Like Mollusk Showed Up in Ancient Amber, and No One Knows How," 16 May 2019 Nature is full of horrors, including zombie wasps and parasites that sound too cruel to be real. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Horror Beetles Hitchhike on Bees And Then Eat Their Young," 12 Sep. 2018 And unlike bees, wasps and hornets, the bald-face hornet can sting multiple times, according to Orkin. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Can You Identify These Dangerous Summer Plants and Bugs?," 3 Aug. 2018 The wasp-like helicopter that follows is the Harbin Z-19 light attack helicopter and the two helicopters that follow are Harbin Z-9W attack helicopters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What Russia's Wargames Propaganda Tells Us About Its Military," 13 Sep. 2018 In most cases, wasps target these pests through parasitism. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 Hoelmer brought the wasp back and put it in quarantine for study. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A local researcher is breeding an army of wasps to devour invasive stink bugs," 27 Aug. 2018 Several researchers have attempted to release parasitoid wasps into homes to control roaches. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for wasp

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wasp

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

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More Definitions for wasp

wasp

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

WASP

noun

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

Comments on wasp

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