Insect definition

ĭnsĕkt
Frequency:
Any of a large class (Insecta) of small arthropod animals, including beetles, bees, flies, wasps, and mosquitoes, characterized in the adult state by division of the body into head, thorax, and abdomen, by three pairs of legs on the thorax, and, usually, by two pairs of membranous wings.
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(popularly) Any small arthropod, usually wingless, including spiders, centipedes, pill bugs, and mites.
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Any of very numerous, mostly small arthropods of the class Insecta, having six segmented legs in the adult stage and a body divided into three parts (the head, thorax, and abdomen). The head has a pair of antennae and the thorax usually has one or two pairs of wings. Most insects undergo substantial change in form during development from the young to the adult stage. More than 800,000 species are known, most of them beetles. Other insects include flies, bees, ants, grasshoppers, butterflies, cockroaches, aphids, and silverfish.
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An unimportant or contemptible person.
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The definition of an insect is a bug- a small anthropoid with six legs and, sometimes, wings.

An ant is an example of an insect.

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An insignificant or contemptible person.
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Any of numerous arthropod animals of the class Insecta, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen and usually having one or two pairs of wings. Insects include the flies, crickets, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, and bees.
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Any of various other small, chiefly arthropod animals, such as spiders, centipedes, or ticks, usually having many legs. Not in scientific use.
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An arthropod in the class Insecta, characterized by six legs, up to four wings, and a chitinous exoskeleton.

Our shed has several insect infestions, including ants, yellowjackets, and wasps.

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(colloquial) Any small arthropod similar to an insect including spiders, centipedes, millipedes, etc.

The swamp is swarming with every sort of insect.

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A contemptible or powerless person.

The manager’s assistant was the worst sort of insect.

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Any of numerous arthropod animals of the class Insecta, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen and usually having one or two pairs of wings. Insects include the flies, crickets, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, and bees.
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Any of various other small, chiefly arthropod animals, such as spiders, centipedes, or ticks, usually having many legs. Not in scientific use.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
insect
Plural:
insects

Origin of insect

  • Latin īnsectum from neuter past participle of īnsecāre to cut up (translation of Greek entomon segmented, cut up, insect) in- in in–2 secāre to cut sek- in Indo-European roots

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

  • From Middle French insecte, from Latin insectum (“with a notched or divided body, cut up”), from perfect passive partciple of insecō (“I cut up”), from in- + secō (“I cut”), from the notion that the insect's body is "cut into" three sections. Calque of Ancient Greek ἔντομον (entomon, “insect”), from ἔντομος (entomos, “cut into pieces”).

    From Wiktionary