Definition of ichneumon in English:



  • 1

    (also ichneumon wasp, ichneumon fly)
    A slender parasitic wasp with long antennae, which deposits its eggs in, on, or near the larvae of other insects.

    Family Ichneumonidae, order Hymenoptera: numerous genera and species

    ‘For him, the fiend that shook his faith was the ichneumon wasp, which lays its eggs inside the larvae of the horntail wasp.’
    • ‘They belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes bees, wasps, sawflies, and ichneumons.’
    • ‘The Persians did not worship wood and stone with the Greeks, nor the ibis and ichneumon with the Egyptians.’
  • 2

    another term for Egyptian mongoose

    ‘They also are in competition for food with the swamp ichneumon, which preys on crabs.’
    • ‘There are also jackals, wolves, the ichneumon and, possibly, a polecat.’



/ikˈn(y)o͞omən/ /ɪkˈn(j)umən/


Late 15th century (in ichneumon (sense 2)): via Latin from Greek ikhneumōn ‘tracker’, from ikhneuein ‘to track’, from ikhnos ‘track, footstep’.