From Middle French insecte, from Latin insectum (“with a notched or divided body, cut up”), from perfect passive participle of insecō (“I cut up”), from in- + secō (“I cut”), from the notion that the insect's body is "cut into" three sections. Calque of Ancient Greek ἔντομον (éntomon, “insect”), from ἔντομος (éntomos, “cut into pieces”).
insect (plural insects)
- An arthropod in the class Insecta, characterized by six legs, up to four wings, and a chitinous exoskeleton.
- 2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7:
- Nonetheless, some insect prey take advantage of clutter by hiding in it. Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
- Our shed has several insect infestions, including ants, yellowjackets, and wasps.
- (colloquial) Any small arthropod similar to an insect including spiders, centipedes, millipedes, etc
- The swamp is swarming with every sort of insect.
- (derogatory) A contemptible or powerless person.
- The manager’s assistant was the worst sort of insect.
- bug (Colloquial 1,2)
- insect on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- insecta on Wikispecies.Wikispecies
- insect on Wikiquote.Wikiquote
- insect on Wikimedia Commons.Wikimedia Commons
- (before 1996) insekt
Originally having a wider meaning (sense 2), as in Aristotle. From Latin īnsectum (“bug; cut up”), from īnsecō (“I cut up into”). The Latin is a calque of Ancient Greek ἔντομον (éntomon, “bug”), from ἔντομος (éntomos).