One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A social winged insect that has a narrow waist and a sting. It constructs a paper nest from wood pulp and raises the larvae on a diet of insects.
Family Vespidae, superfamily Vespoidea, order Hymenoptera: several genera, in particular Vespula and Polistes
- ‘Most stinging wasps and bees are beneficial and should be preserved unless they pose a direct hazard to humans.’
- ‘In many eusocial wasps, nests are founded by single females that remain alone until offspring emergence.’
- ‘The latest accident is thought to have been triggered when one of the horses was stung by a wasp, causing it to bolt.’
- ‘I myself was stung by some wasps and went into mild anaphylactic shock.’
- ‘I could see the anxiety on Zack's face when the wasp buzzed past a second time.’
- ‘When a nasty wasp stung two of us, the shaman congratulated us, saying it would help mitigate the future contraction of arthritis.’
- ‘Once, he was bitten by a horrendous dog, and was also stung by a wasp.’
- ‘Another hazard that sometimes faced the picker was disturbing a nest of wasps or some other stinging creatures.’
- ‘But this is the time of year that a lot of people usually get stung by wasps or bees.’
- ‘I wouldn't mind, as I remind my wife, but I've never in my life been stung by a wasp.’
- ‘It didn't kill the wasps, the nest was made of paper so it absorbed the shock and just split open.’
- ‘It stung like a million wasps, but suddenly, my hand was back to normal.’
- ‘Bites from bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants are typically the most troublesome.’
- ‘I closed my eyes and held my breath when the wasp stung me.’
- ‘Among the Caribs, the girls undergo a similar ritual, except that stinging ants rather than wasps are used.’
- ‘Common wasps are social insects and live in nests of up to around 10,000 workers.’
- ‘I was cleaning up my flowerbeds for fall when a wasp flew up and stung me on the cheek.’
- ‘Swarms of bees and wasps would also have nested in the forest.’
- ‘A nest of wasps gathered in my mother-in-law's garden shed and I bought a spray and killed them all.’
- ‘When a male wasp crashes into the orchid, it gets covered with orchid pollen.’
2A solitary winged insect with a narrow waist, mostly distantly related to the social wasps and including many parasitic kinds.
Several superfamilies in the sections Aculeata (digger, mason, and potter wasps) and Parasitica (parasitic wasps and gall wasps), order Hymenoptera
- ‘Female wasps parasitize fruit flies by inserting their eggs into fruit fly eggs.’
- ‘Tussock moth larvae that are not killed by parasitic wasps and predators turn into brightly marked caterpillars.’
- ‘We believe effective fly control will require the utilization of parasitic wasp species native to Nebraska.’
- ‘Nonetheless, it is parasitized by wasps, flies, and nematodes.’
- ‘The main causes of egg mortality are predators and a parasitoid wasp.’
- ‘Each spider was supplied with aphids, flies, plant hoppers, and parasitoid wasps.’
- ‘Female parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the caterpillars.’
- ‘Parasitoid wasps have proved to be an extremely useful model system for testing ideas in this area.’
- ‘There is also a parasitic wasp that attacks them but they are not effective enough to prevent the damage.’
- ‘In the garden dill attracts beneficial insects, including bees, parasitic wasps and tachinid flies.’
- ‘Certain types of parasitic insects, most commonly flies and wasps, thrive on other insect hosts.’
- ‘Parasitic wasps and fungal diseases prevent weevils from causing economic injury in most years.’
- ‘The wasps parasitized these new hosts, killing nineteen of every twenty flies.’
- ‘In the case of many parasitoid wasps, other compounds come from the venom the mother injects with her eggs.’
- ‘Since their introduction, the beneficial wasps have helped control plant bug populations throughout the Northeast.’
- ‘These volatiles can attract the natural enemies of these herbivores, for example, parasitoid wasps.’
- ‘A few days later the egg hatches and the wasp larva eats the cicada alive.’
- ‘On TV the eggs hatch and the tiny wasps eat the spider alive.’
- ‘The apparent advantage for the eggs is that, buried in the debris, they are less likely to be parasitized by wasps.’
Old English wæfs, wæps, wæsp, of West Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin vespa; perhaps related to weave (from the weblike form of its nest).
An upper- or middle-class American white Protestant, considered to be a member of the most powerful group in society.
- ‘Old-guard Wasps appear to feel threatened by the newly rich and their growing influence around the city, and dismiss new money as ‘tasteless and gauche.’’
- ‘But the criticism of WASPs as a group, says Brookhiser, is only a symptom of a deeper ill.’
1960s: acronym from white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
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