Definition of insect in English:

insect

noun

  • 1A small arthropod animal that has six legs and generally one or two pairs of wings.

    See also Hexapoda
    • ‘The flightless birds and insects of such islands had clearly lost a highly complex function.’
    • ‘Voices that would seem possible only from the throat of a bird in fact arise from the wings of an insect.’
    • ‘Being dinner for a swarm of insects is nobody's idea of a good time.’
    • ‘For Buddhists, there is no difference between insects and larger animals.’
    • ‘Carnivorous animals will eat live insects and some will eat mice and rats.’
    • ‘In winter it feeds on the larvae of flying insects, and starts breeding very early in the season.’
    • ‘They have sections for amphibians, insects, mammals, fish, reptiles and more.’
    • ‘The whole idea behind fly fishing is to mimic the different insects and aquatic animals fish feed on.’
    • ‘The pods release a gas that kills insects and animals that may be living in cargo.’
    • ‘It was an unusual insect, with coloured wings that faded from red to yellow.’
    • ‘This insect is among the most damaging arthropod pests of pears in North America and Europe.’
    • ‘Useful insects such as bees or natural parasites and predators of pests may be affected by pesticide residues.’
    • ‘Plants can use indirect defence mechanisms to protect themselves against herbivorous insects.’
    • ‘Surviving juveniles disperse to the riffles and runs of the river to live on insect larvae and small crustaceans.’
    • ‘The Taverham visitor spent much time hunting for insects and larvae among fallen leaves in scrubby woodland.’
    • ‘In the late afternoon there will be time for a nature walk to spot desert animals, birds and insects.’
    • ‘Each tree is a city to nature inhabited by mosses, birds, insects and small animals.’
    • ‘If everyone keeps their promise this will also make a real difference to all sorts of wildlife from insects to birds.’
    • ‘Mammals, birds, insects and plants have been monitored in the strips for five years.’
    • ‘Few other studies have correlated the influence of the full moon with behaviour of animals or insects.’
    1. 1.1informal Any small invertebrate animal, especially one with several pairs of legs.
      • ‘This group includes all the insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, also spiders and centipedes.’
      • ‘For a web to be effective, it needs to be built so that an insect doesn't snap the web or bounce out of it.’

Origin

Early 17th century (originally denoting any small cold-blooded creature with a segmented body): from Latin (animal) insectum ‘segmented (animal)’ (translating Greek zōion entomon), from insecare ‘cut up or into’, from in- ‘into’ + secare ‘to cut’.

Pronunciation

insect

/ˈinˌsekt//ˈɪnˌsɛkt/