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

And yes, the wasps will sting—repeatedly—in defense of their home. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Alabamians, Beware the Wasp ‘Super Nest’," 1 July 2019 But entomologists believe that milder winters and an abundant food supply allow the wasp colonies to survive and enter spring with larger numbers. Mallory Hughes, CNN, "Massive wasp nests as big as a car are appearing in Alabama (again)," 1 July 2019 Usually, the winter freeze kills off wasp colonies. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Alabama Officials Warn of Horrifying Wasp “Super Nests”," 1 July 2019 First, the wasp's tiny larvae hitch onto the spider's abdomen. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Wasps Turn Spiders Into Obedient Zombies," 30 Apr. 2019 And, of course, stings bees and wasps are likely to produce more pain than itch. Emily Shiffer, Health.com, "Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?," 20 June 2019 Galls provide a relatively safe and nutritious place for the young wasps to develop. oregonlive.com, "Tips for success when planting under conifer and maple trees? Ask an expert," 8 June 2019 An earlier hypothesis is that the thickness and shape of stick insect eggs protects them from parasitic wasps. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Stick Insects Are Easy Bird Food, and That Might Help Them Reproduce," 5 June 2018 These herbs attract beneficial parasitic and predatory wasps that kill bad bugs and larvae. Thad Orr, Sunset, "Your Essential Gardening To-Do List for April," 22 Jan. 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

12 Jul 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

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