Definition of diapause in English:



mass nounZoology
  • A period of suspended development in an insect, other invertebrate, or mammal embryo, especially during unfavourable environmental conditions.

    • ‘Many of the insects that go into diapause are eggs and pupae awaiting the arrival of spring and its bounty of food before hatching into adults, Holscher said.’
    • ‘Their reproductive cycle is characterized by a period of embryonic diapause, during which the blastocyst suspends implantation and development.’
    • ‘Eggs hatching from diapause introduce to current environments species or genotypes laid at times in the distant past.’
    • ‘By the third week, most females will be laying progeny that will enter diapause.’
    • ‘These ridges indicate the period of diapause during the winter or unfavorable environmental conditions, such as lower water level or lack of food.’


[no object]usually as adjective diapausing
  • (of an insect or other animal) undergo a period of suspended development.

    • ‘Eggs diapause over winter, and development resumes after the spring thaw.’
    • ‘They continue this pattern until they diapause in the leaf litter, where they over-winter, emerging in the spring as orange caterpillars with numerous dark brown, tufted spines.’
    • ‘Active individuals only reappear in the water column in autumn when diapausing eggs begin hatching in autumn after fish predation intensity declines.’
    • ‘Migratory birds and diapausing insects are present throughout the arctic, and thus overall herbivory in arctic systems may remain highly seasonal.’
    • ‘The larval generation and adult flight order is as indicated because offspring from third-flight individuals overwinter as diapausing pupae and emerge the following spring.’


Late 19th century: from dia- ‘through’ + the noun pause.