wasp

noun (1)
\ˈwäsp, 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, 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, ˈwȯsp- \ adjective

Noun (2)

Waspdom \ˈwäsp-dəm, ˈwȯsp- \ noun sometimes disparaging
Waspish \ˈwä-spish, ˈwȯ- \ adjective sometimes disparaging
Waspishness noun sometimes disparaging
Waspy \ˈwä-spē, ˈwȯ- \ adjective 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

Amazingly, bees, wasps, dogs and snakes are responsible for far more deaths each year in the U.S. than sharks, the Shark Attack File said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Sharks vs. humans: At 100 million deaths against 6 each year, it's not a fair fight," 11 July 2018 And in October, there are a lot of wasps on the island. Michael Ordoña, SFChronicle.com, "Christine Baranski’s enviable year has included slapstick, singing and good fights," 12 July 2018 Several species of parasitic wasps are under consideration as a method of biological control, though this strategy typically only becomes practical once an invasive species becomes established. Zach Montague, New York Times, "Lanternflies Eat Everything in Sight. The U.S. Is Looking Delicious.," 21 May 2018 Scientists are breeding armies of the wasp around the world in an effort to contain or eradicate another tiny species destroying native trees. Fox News, "Wasps bred as biological warfare agents," 25 May 2018 So when the 9-year-old at Lovettsville Elementary School in Northern Virginia was stung by a wasp and began complaining of a funny feeling in his mouth, Karen McCall knew what to do. Washington Post, "For low-wage school workers, lessons in survival," 28 Jan. 2018 Many species of bees, wasps and hornets defensively protect their nests. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "This Is the Only Thing You Should Do If a Bee Stings You," 6 June 2017 The man was on a trail near Elliot Road and Estrella Parkway when he was attacked by wasps, Goodyear Fire Chief Tim Wayne said. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Man attacked by wasps falls down Goodyear mountain trail," 28 June 2018 Various adversaries covet the schmantzy ant and wasp suit technology for their own interests. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' review: Here's one infestation we can get behind," 27 June 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

4 Oct 2018

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)

: 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, 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 \

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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