Butterfly definitions

bŭt'ər-flī'
The definition of a butterfly is an insect with a slender body and four broad colorful wings that flies during the day.

An example of a butterfly is the monarch.

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Any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, having four broad, usually colorful wings, and generally distinguished from the moths by having a slender body and knobbed antennae and being active during the day.
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A person interested principally in frivolous pleasure.

A social butterfly.

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A feeling of unease or mild nausea caused especially by fearful anticipation.
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A swimming stroke in which a swimmer lying face down draws both arms upward out of the water, thrusts them forward, and draws them back under the water in an hourglass design while performing a dolphin kick.
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A race or a leg of a race in which this stroke is swum.
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To cut and spread open and flat, as shrimp.
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Any of various families of lepidopteran insects active in the daytime, having a sucking mouthpart, slender body, ropelike, knobbed antennae, and four broad, usually brightly colored, membranous wings.
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A person, esp. a woman, thought of as flitting about like a butterfly and being frivolous, fickle, etc.
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An uneasy feeling, as in the abdomen, caused esp. by nervous anticipation.
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A contest in which each contestant uses a butterfly stroke.
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Resembling a butterfly, esp. in having parts that are spread out like wings.

Butterfly chair, butterfly table.

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To slice (a pork chop, shrimp, etc.) most of the way through and spread open before cooking.
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Any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera, having four broad, usually colorful wings, and generally distinguished from the moths by having a slender body and knobbed antennae and being active during the day.
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A flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, distinguished from moths by their diurnal activity and generally brighter colouring. [from 11th c.]
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(now rare) Someone seen as being unserious and (originally) dressed gaudily; someone flighty and unreliable. [from 17th c.]
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The butterfly stroke. [from 20th c.]
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A use of surgical tape, cut into thin strips and placed across an open wound to hold it closed.

Butterfly tape.

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To cut almost entirely in half and spread the halves apart, in a shape suggesting the wings of a butterfly.

Butterflied shrimp.

Butterfly the chicken before you grill it.

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To cut strips of surgical tape or plasters into thin strips, and place across a gaping wound to close it.
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Origin of butterfly

Alternate etymology connects the first element to butere (“butter”), as the name may have originally been applied solely to butterflies of a yellowish color. This may have merged later with the belief that butterflies ate milk and butter (compare Middle High German molkendiep (“butterfly”, literally “milk-thief”); Modern German Molkendieb and Low German Botterlicker (“butterfly”, literally “butter-licker”)), or that they excreted a butter-like substance (compare Middle Dutch boterschijte (“butterfly”, literally “butter-shitter”)). Compare also Middle Dutch botervliege (“butterfly”) (Dutch botervlieg), German Butterfliege (“butterfly”). More at butter, fly.