One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A migratory butterfly with predominantly orange-brown wings and darker markings.
Genus Cynthia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae: the widely distributed C. cardui, with black-and-white markings, and the American painted lady (C. virginiensis), with markings resembling eyes on the undersides of the wings
- ‘Alfalfa butterflies, painted ladies, woolly bears and various other species have been abundant all summer.’
- ‘All the way we were accompanied by electric blue and emerald green damsel flies and along the banks we spotted red admirals, painted ladies, peacocks, and mere common butterflies.’
- ‘She was lying in the dust beneath a white buddleia, staring straight ahead, sniffing at red admirals and painted ladies as they fluttered past.’
- ‘A painted lady feeds on the nutrient-rich carcass of a swift fox in western South Dakota.’
- ‘And I can see monarchs, painted ladies, tiger swallowtails, and listen to the songbirds.’
2usually Painted Lady(in the US, especially San Francisco) a house from the late 19th or early 20th century whose exterior is decorated with three or more colors of paint highlighting its ornate architectural features.
painted lady/pān(t)əd ˈlādē/
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