cantharides

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See also: Cantharides

English[edit]

The Spanish fly (Lytta vesicatoria). Southern France.

Etymology[edit]

Late Middle English, from Latin cantharides, plural of cantharis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cantharides pl (plural only)

  1. (entomology) Cantharides, a genus of coleopterous insects, formerly also taken to include aphids.
  2. Spanish fly, a vesicant extracted from the beetle Lytta vesicatoria (alternatively classified Cantharis vesicatoria), popularly held to have aphrodisiac properties.
    • 1926, Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist, Ch.26:
      I can make the most subtle sauces yield up their secret--whether it be white arsenic, rosalgar, mercury sublimate, or cantharides.
    • 1964, Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like The Sun:
      Speaking her name, it was as if he spake pure cantharides. ‘Quick,’ she panted. ‘There is time before they are all about. Again.’
    • 1992, Will Self, Cock and Bull:
      It’s lucky that Carol had taken the precaution of obtaining some cantharides; without them the evening might have been a dead loss.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 612:
      Basically Louis's drug dealer and pimp, Richelieu, known for opium recipes to fit all occasions, is also credited with the introduction into France of the cantharides, or Spanish fly.

Latin[edit]

Noun[edit]

cantharidēs

  1. nominative plural of cantharis
  2. accusative plural of cantharis
  3. vocative plural of cantharis