Definition of ichneumon in English:



  • 1A slender parasitic wasp with long antennae, which deposits its eggs in, on, or near the larvae of other insects.

    • ‘They belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes bees, wasps, sawflies, and ichneumons.’
    • ‘The Persians did not worship wood and stone with the Greeks, nor the ibis and ichneumon with the Egyptians.’
    • ‘For him, the fiend that shook his faith was the ichneumon wasp, which lays its eggs inside the larvae of the horntail wasp.’
  • 2

    another term for Egyptian mongoose
    • ‘There are also jackals, wolves, the ichneumon and, possibly, a polecat.’
    • ‘They also are in competition for food with the swamp ichneumon, which preys on crabs.’


Late 15th century (in ichneumon): via Latin from Greek ikhneumōn tracker, from ikhneuein to track, from ikhnos track, footstep.