Definition of cantharides in English:


plural noun

    • ‘It's also called cantharides and is a powder made from the ground-up bodies of a particular kind of blister beetle that's native to Spain and southern Europe.’
    • ‘These larvae feed on the cantharides all winter, and, if in quantity, commit great havoc, leaving only the hard exterior portions untouched, such as the upper portion of the thorax, the green wing cases, and transparent wings.’
    • ‘The most notorious is ‘Spanish fly’, also known as cantharides.’
    • ‘This finding has caused many to mistakenly assume that cantharides, or rather ‘Spanish fly,’ is an aphrodisiac.’
    • ‘In 1752 a Frenchman was prescribed 2 drams of cantharides for a fever and in the next two months bedded his wife at least 87 times.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, plural of cantharis, from Greek kantharis ‘Spanish fly’.