Definition of aculeate in US English:



  • 1(of an insect) having a sting.

    • ‘Almost all adult aculeate wasps and bees drink nectar for their own nourishment and are therefore flower visitors and worthy of consideration as potential pollinators.’
    • ‘Phylogenetic relationships between six wasp and bee species, Apis mellifera, and several other similar aculeate Hymenoptera were determined.’
  • 2Sharply pointed; prickly.

    • ‘The fruit of this plant are globose and aculeate.’
    sharp, spear-like, needle-like, spear-shaped, v-shaped, tapering, tapered, cone-shaped, conic, conical, acute, sharp-cornered, wedge-shaped, sharp-edged, edged, jagged, spiky, spiked, barbed
    View synonyms


  • A stinging insect of a group that includes the bees, wasps, and ants.

    Section Aculeata, suborder Apocrita, order Hymenoptera

    • ‘After all the years, I'm still keen to watch butterflies and moths, and more recently to collect aculeates.’
    • ‘For many aculeates this involves the availability of bare ground, usually sandy, sometimes firm, sometimes loose and in various aspects ranging from flat ground to vertical banks and cliffs.’
    • ‘Larval kleptoparasites of solitary aculeates are also found in the Bombyliidae and Chloropidae.’
    • ‘The collection represents about 15 percent of the total entomological collections, and is especially rich in Symphyta, aculeates, and entomophagous parasites from worldwide locations.’
    • ‘Hymenopterists were hard done by with few aculeates recorded.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin aculeatus, from aculeus ‘a sting’, diminutive of acus ‘needle’.