Definition of butterfly in English:

butterfly

See synonyms for butterfly on Thesaurus.com

Translate butterfly into Spanish

nounplural noun butterflies

  • 1A nectar-feeding insect with two pairs of large, typically brightly colored wings that are covered with microscopic scales. Butterflies are distinguished from moths by having clubbed or dilated antennae, holding their wings erect when at rest, and being active by day.

    Superfamilies Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea, order Lepidoptera: several families. Formerly placed in a grouping known as the Rhopalocera

    1. 1.1as modifier Having a two-lobed shape resembling the spread wings of a butterfly.
      • ‘a butterfly clip’
  • 2A showy or frivolous person.

    • ‘a social butterfly’
  • 3butterflies informal A fluttering and nauseous sensation felt in the stomach when one is nervous.

    nervousness, nerves, fit of nerves, edginess, uneasiness, anxiety, anxiousness, tension, agitation, fretfulness, restlessness, fidgeting, trembling, shaking, jumpiness
  • 4

    (also butterfly stroke)
    A stroke in swimming in which both arms are raised out of the water and lifted forwards together.

Pronunciation

butterfly

/ˈbədərˌflī/ /ˈbədərˌflaɪ/

transitive verbtransitive verb butterflies, transitive verb butterflying, transitive verb butterflied

[with object]
  • Split (a piece of meat or fish) almost in two and spread it out flat.

    ‘butterfly the shrimp using a small sharp knife’
    • ‘We decided to go with the 12-pounder and the man cut its head off, cut its tail off, shaved off the scales, butterflied it and deboned it.’
    • ‘So I butterflied it - yielding two pieces that were about 1/2 an inch thick.’
    • ‘Go to your local butcher and ask for two tenderloin steaks to be butterflied to about a one centimetre thickness.’
    • ‘When ordered, the hot dogs are split lengthwise and butterflied on the grill for one last blast of heat.’
    • ‘These shrimp stand in silent rebuke to their unfortunate cousins that are butterflied and flattened by less sensitive restaurants.’
    • ‘The only fried food I took issue with here was the shrimp, butterflied and flattened to the point where any juices they had once possessed were only a memory.’
    • ‘The red snapper we had chosen came to the table deboned and butterflied, where it was served onto our plates with a garnish of endive, radicchio, lemon wedges and capers.’
    • ‘He carries lamb in medallions, butterflied, frenched, minced, diced, sliced and stroganoffed.’
    • ‘We had some the other night as a treat, butterflied and grilled.’
    • ‘Generally in Tasmania fresh quail is sold butterflied.’

Pronunciation

butterfly

/ˈbədərˌflī/ /ˈbədərˌflaɪ/

Origin

Old English, from butter+ fly; perhaps from the cream or yellow color of common species, or from an old belief that the insects stole butter.