Cantharides meaning

kăn-thărĭ-dēz
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A dangerous, sometimes fatal, preparation of powdered, dried Spanish flies, formerly used internally as a diuretic and aphrodisiac and externally as a skin irritant.
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(entomology) Cantharides, a genus of coleopterous insects, formerly also taken to include aphids.
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Spanish fly, a vesicant extracted from the beetle Lytta vesicatoria (alternatively classified Cantharis vesicatoria), popularly held to have aphrodisiac properties.
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Origin of cantharides

  • Latin pl. of cantharis cantharid- Spanish fly from Greek kantharis from diminutive of kantharos dung beetle

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition