woolly bear

noun

: any of various rather large very hairy moth caterpillars
especially : one of a tiger moth

Examples of woolly bear in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the groundhog is just one of numerous animals that, according to folklore, possess an uncanny ability to forecast the weather, including cows that are said to lie down before early rain and woolly bear caterpillars that are supposedly decorated with less color before a frigid winter. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 Leave a comment View Comments The woolly bear — a species of caterpillar, also called the woolly worm — famously is thought to forecast the severity of the impending winter with its colored bands. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 Himmelman says that woolly bears (those fuzzy black and brown caterpillars) and other tiger moth caterpillars spend winter in leaf debris. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2023 A few years ago, Michael Singer found that woolly bear caterpillars will actively eat toxic plants if they are infected by parasitic wasps. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2012 The woolly bear caterpillar, like its name, is covered in a spiky looking fuzz. Kate Furby, Scientific American, 3 Mar. 2023 This legend has gained so much notoriety that some Midwestern towns host annual woolly bear festivals. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2021 The festival in Vermilion, Ohio features a parade and woolly bear races. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2021 Sadly, the woolly bear isn’t any more reliable than Punxsutawney Phil. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'woolly bear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of woolly bear was circa 1841

Dictionary Entries Near woolly bear

Cite this Entry

“Woolly bear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woolly%20bear. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

woolly bear

noun
: any of various rather large very hairy moth caterpillars
especially : one that is the larva of a tiger moth
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