Definition of aculeate in US English:



  • 1(of an insect) having a sting.

    • ‘Phylogenetic relationships between six wasp and bee species, Apis mellifera, and several other similar aculeate Hymenoptera were determined.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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

    • ‘Hymenopterists were hard done by with few aculeates recorded.’
    • ‘The collection represents about 15 percent of the total entomological collections, and is especially rich in Symphyta, aculeates, and entomophagous parasites from worldwide locations.’
    • ‘After all the years, I'm still keen to watch butterflies and moths, and more recently to collect aculeates.’
    • ‘Larval kleptoparasites of solitary aculeates are also found in the Bombyliidae and Chloropidae.’
    • ‘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.’


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