What does caterpillar mean?

Definitions for caterpillar
ˈkæt əˌpɪl ər, ˈkæt ər-cater·pil·lar

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word caterpillar.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. caterpillarnoun

    a wormlike and often brightly colored and hairy or spiny larva of a butterfly or moth

  2. Caterpillar, catnoun

    a large tracked vehicle that is propelled by two endless metal belts; frequently used for moving earth in construction and farm work


  1. caterpillarnoun

    The larva of a butterfly or moth; leafworm.

    The bird just ate that green caterpillar.

  2. caterpillarnoun

    A vehicle with a caterpillar track; a crawler.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Caterpillarnoun

    A worm which, when it gets wings, is sustained by leaves and fruits.

    Etymology: This word Stephen Skinner and John Minsheu are inclined to derive from chatte peluse, a weasel; it seems easily deducible from cates, food, and piller, Fr. to rob; the animal that eats up the fruits of the earth.

    The caterpillar breedeth of dew and leaves; for we see infinite caterpillars breed upon trees and hedges, by which the leaves of the trees or hedges are consumed. Francis Bacon.

    Auster is drawn with a pot pouring forth water, with which descend grasshoppers, caterpillars, and creatures bred by moisture. Henry Peacham, on Drawing.

  2. Caterpillarnoun

    scorpioides, Lat. The name of a plant.

    It hath a papilionaceous flower, out of whose empalement rises the pointal, which afterwards becomes a jointed pod, convoluted like a snail or caterpillar. Philip Miller.


  1. Caterpillar

    Caterpillars ( KAT-ər-pil-ər) are the larval stage of members of the order Lepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths). As with most common names, the application of the word is arbitrary, since the larvae of sawflies (suborder Symphyta) are commonly called caterpillars as well. Both lepidopteran and symphytan larvae have eruciform body shapes. Caterpillars of most species eat plant material (often leaves), but not all; some (about 1%) eat insects, and some are even cannibalistic. Some feed on other animal products. For example, clothes moths feed on wool, and horn moths feed on the hooves and horns of dead ungulates. Caterpillars are typically voracious feeders and many of them are among the most serious of agricultural pests. In fact, many moth species are best known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce, whereas the moths are obscure and do no direct harm. Conversely, various species of caterpillar are valued as sources of silk, as human or animal food, or for biological control of pest plants.


  1. caterpillar

    A caterpillar is the larval stage of butterflies and moths, belonging to the order Lepidoptera. This creature is typically a soft and elongated organism that may contain various colors and patterns. Most caterpillars feed voraciously on plant foliage, although some species can consume other organic materials. They eventually undergo a transformation process, called metamorphosis, to become pupae and eventually emerge as adult butterflies or moths.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Caterpillarnoun

    the larval state of a butterfly or any lepidopterous insect; sometimes, but less commonly, the larval state of other insects, as the sawflies, which are also called false caterpillars. The true caterpillars have three pairs of true legs, and several pairs of abdominal fleshy legs (prolegs) armed with hooks. Some are hairy, others naked. They usually feed on leaves, fruit, and succulent vegetables, being often very destructive, Many of them are popularly called worms, as the cutworm, cankerworm, army worm, cotton worm, silkworm

  2. Caterpillarnoun

    a plant of the genus Scorpiurus, with pods resembling caterpillars

  3. Etymology: [OE. catyrpel, corrupted fr. OF. chatepelouse, or cate pelue, fr. chate, F. chatte, she-cat, fem. of chat, L. catus + L. pilosus hairy, or F. pelu hairy, fr. L. pilus hair. See Cat, and Pile hair.]


  1. Caterpillar

    Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera. They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce. The etymological origins of the word are from the early 16th century, from Middle English catirpel, catirpeller, probably an alteration of Old North French catepelose: cate, cat + pelose, hairy.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Caterpillar

    kat′ėr-pil-ar, n. a grub that lives upon the leaves of plants. [Prob. O. Fr. chatepeleuse, 'hairy cat;' chate, a she-cat—L. catus, peleuse, hairy—L. pilosus, pilum.]


  1. Caterpillar

    the term applied to the larvae of Lepidoptera.

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How to pronounce caterpillar?

How to say caterpillar in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of caterpillar in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of caterpillar in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of caterpillar in a Sentence

  1. Bradley Miller:

    Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.

  2. Mark Luschini:

    Companies such as Caterpillar are a litmus test for the global economy especially when the market is concerned about China's economy.

  3. Joseph Quinlan:

    The( Caterpillar) news is not helping matters, it's emblematic of a weaker global economy.

  4. Mark Luschini:

    Companies such as Caterpillar are a litmus test for the global economy especially at a time when the market is concerned about China's economy.

  5. Richard Bach:

    The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

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"caterpillar." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/caterpillar>.

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