One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of an insect) having two pairs of wings.
- ‘A Tetrapterous insect, the genus of which is uncertain, is said, when it is taken, to discharge its eggs like shot from a gun.’
- ‘But in the Diptera, the part that has been usually called the scutellum is not at all connected, either by situation or as a point of attachment, with the wing itself, but with the lower valve of the alula, which is with reason thought to be the representative of the secondary wing of the tetrapterous Orders.’
Early 19th century: from modern Latin tetrapterus (from Greek tetrapteros, from tetra- ‘four’ + pteron ‘wing’) + -ous.
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