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

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 Consider Flower Shape The flowers that attract hummingbirds are not the same as those that attract bees or beneficial wasps. Rebecca Straus, Good Housekeeping, "Why You Should Always Plant Flowers in Your Vegetable Patch," 15 Aug. 2018 Many types of solitary wasps prey on specific cockroach species. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Finally, the robo-wasp has a winch to drag its haul home. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 The wasp — smaller than a sesame seed — is also an import from Asia. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A local researcher is breeding an army of wasps to devour invasive stink bugs," 27 Aug. 2018 Its creators were inspired by the common wasp’s ability to transport heavy items across great distances. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 Nothing ruins a perfectly gorgeous day outdoors like a painful bee or wasp sting. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Tips to Prevent Bee and Wasp Stings When Exploring the Great Outdoors," 10 Oct. 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

11 Jan 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)

: 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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