- The definition of a larva is a young animal or insect that will change into something else in adulthood.
An example of a larva is a caterpillar that will become a butterfly.
This caterpillar is an example of a larva.
nounpl. larvae or larvas
Origin of larvaClassical Latin ghost, specter, akin to lar, household spirit: see lares
nounpl. lar·vae or lar·vas
- The newly hatched, wingless, often wormlike form of many insects before metamorphosis.
- The newly hatched, earliest form of any of various animals that undergo metamorphosis, differing markedly in appearance from the adult.
- Roman Mythology A malevolent spirit of the dead.
Origin of larvaLatin lārva, specter, mask (because it acts as a specter of or a mask for the adult form).
(plural larvas or larvae or larvæ)
- An early stage of growth for some insects and amphibians, in which after hatching from their egg, insects are wingless and resemble a caterpillar or grub, and amphibians lack limbs and ressemble fish.
- An animal in the aforementioned stage.
- A form of a recently born or hatched animal that is quite different from its adult stage.
Although the plural larvas is somewhat common, it is regarded by some as incorrect.
From Latin larva (“ghost-like, masked”).