wasp

noun \ ˈwäsp , ˈwȯsp \
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of wasp

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

wasplike

play \ˈwäsp-ˌlīk, ˈwȯsp-\ adjective

Recent Examples of wasp from the Web

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.

Illustration of wasp

Origin and Etymology of wasp

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

Other Insect Terms


WASP

noun, often attributive \ ˈwäsp , ˈwȯsp \
variants: or Wasp

Definition of WASP

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.

Waspdom

play \ˈwäsp-dəm, ˈwȯsp-\ noun, sometimes disparaging

Waspish

play \ˈwä-spish, ˈwȯ-\ adjective, sometimes disparaging

Waspishness

noun, sometimes disparaging

Waspy

play \ˈwä-spē, ˈwȯ-\ adjective, sometimes disparaging

Examples of wasp in a Sentence

  1. Most of the members of the club are wealthy WASPs.

  2. The college had been known as a bastion of WASP privilege.

Origin and Etymology of wasp

white Anglo-Saxon Protestant


WASP Defined for English Language Learners

wasp

noun

Definition of wasp for English Language Learners

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


WASP

noun

Definition of WASP for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

wasp

noun \ ˈwäsp , ˈwȯsp \

Definition of wasp for Students

: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

Medical Dictionary

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

Illustration of wasp


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