Definition: Meaning of, butterfly in English to English dictionary.

Pronunciation: / ˈbʌtəflʌɪ /

  • noun
  • synonym
  • antonym
Word Forms:
Singular Plural
butterfly butterflies
  1. a type of insect that has large wings, often with beautiful colours
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  2. have/get butterflies (in your stomach) informal to feel very nervous before doing something
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  3. the butterfly a way of swimming by lying on your front and moving your arms together over your head while your legs move up and down
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  4. someone who usually moves on quickly from one activity or person to the next
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butterfly used in phrases

  • Madame Butterfly
    1. (1904) an OPERA by PUCCINI in which a Japanese woman marries an officer in the US navy called Lieutenant Pinkerton, who later leaves her in Japan and marries another woman in the US. When he returns to Japan with his American wife, his Japanese wife kills herself because she is so unhappy.
    2. the main female character of Madame Butterfly
  • brush-footed butterfly (noun)
    1. medium to large butterflies found worldwide typically having brightly coloured wings and much-reduced nonfunctional forelegs carried folded on the breast
  • butterfly bush (noun)
    1. tropical shrub having clusters of white, violet or yellow flowers
  • butterfly collector (noun)
    1. an entomologist who specializes in the collection and study of butterflies and moths
  • butterfly effect (noun)
    1. the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, e.g., a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro might change the weather in Chicago
  • butterfly fish (noun)
    1. small usually brilliantly coloured tropical marine fishes having narrow deep bodies with large broad fins; found worldwide
  • butterfly flower (noun)
    1. any plant of the genus Schizanthus having finely divided leaves and showy variegated flowers
    2. shrub or small tree of Dutch Guiana having clusters of pink flowers streaked with purple
  • butterfly nut (noun)
    1. a threaded nut with winglike projections for thumb and forefinger leverage in turning
  • butterfly orchid (noun)
    1. any orchid of the genus Psychopsis: spectacular large tiger-striped orchids
    2. any orchid of the genus Oncidium: characterized by slender branching sprays of small yellow and brown flowers; often grown as houseplants
  • butterfly orchis (noun)
    1. mexican epiphytic orchid having pale green or yellow-green flowers with white purple-veined lip
    2. mediterranean orchid having usually purple flowers with a fan-shaped spotted or striped rose-red lip
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