One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of or relating to the hymenopteran family Pompilidae, that comprises solitary wasps which excavate burrows that are provisioned with paralysed spiders as food for the young.
A wasp of the family Pompilidae.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in American Naturalist. From scientific Latin Pompilus, genus name (J. C. Fabricius Supplementum entomologiae systematicae 212; probably transferred use (although the motivation for the transfer is unclear) of classical Latin pompilus (also pompilos) pilot fish or its etymon Hellenistic Greek πομπίλος from either ancient Greek πομπή or πομπός escort, guide + -λος, suffix forming nouns) + -id, after scientific Latin Pompilidae, family name. With use as noun compare French pompilidés, plural noun.
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