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 WASP (audio) , ˈwȯsp-​ \ adjective

Noun (2)

Waspdom \ ˈwäsp-​dəm How to pronounce WASP (audio) , ˈwȯsp-​ \ noun, sometimes disparaging
Waspish \ ˈwä-​spish How to pronounce WASP (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 Say goodbye to Dorothy’s prim gingham pinafore, fashion’s favorite cheerful check has been updated on everything from Rodarte’s wasp-waist pencil skirt to Sabre’s new cutlery suite. Chloe Malle, Vogue, "Get Your Gingham! Checks for Every Style and Occasion," 27 Apr. 2021 It was painted on the sloping ceiling of a rock shelter, home to thousands of fossilized mud wasp nests. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Kangaroo painted over 17,000 years ago is Australia's oldest known rock art, scientists say," 22 Feb. 2021 With that in mind, the airport has started spraying the field with pesticides and has already seen a reduction in wasp activity. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Australia, Just One Wasp Can Ground an Airplane With a Strategically Placed Nest," 1 Dec. 2020 The researchers, who published their work in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, however, were able to date the paintings by using an innovative technique that relied on wasp nests. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "17,000-Year-Old Kangaroo Painting Is Oldest Known Australian Rock Art," 23 Feb. 2021 The age of the paintings was determined by ancient wasp nests, of all things. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Rock on! Australia's oldest painting is of the beloved kangaroo," 22 Feb. 2021 By dating the wasp nests, the authors of this study established that the majority of paintings were produced between 17,000 and 13,000 years ago. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Kangaroo painted over 17,000 years ago is Australia's oldest known rock art, scientists say," 22 Feb. 2021 The idea of importing the scale's natural adversary -- an Asian parasitic wasp -- has also been largely abandoned. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "Louisiana scientists say a reviled plant could save the coast's insect-ravaged wetlands," 11 Dec. 2020 Per the Times, researchers aren’t totally sure about the active ingredient of the bees’ malodorous home decor in terms of wasp repellent. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Asian Bees Plaster Hives With Feces to Defend Against Hornet Attacks," 11 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for wasp

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wasp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wasp. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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