butterfly (plural butterflies)
A flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, distinguished from moths by their diurnal activity and generally brighter colouring. [from 11th c.]
- A use of surgical tape, cut into thin strips and placed across an open wound to hold it closed.
- butterfly tape
(swimming) The butterfly stroke. [from 20th c.]
- (in plural) A sensation of excited anxiety felt in the stomach.
- I get terrible butterflies before an exam.
- (now, rare) Someone seen as being unserious and (originally) dress#Verb|dressed gaudily; someone flighty and unreliable. [from 17th c.]
- French: papillon
- German: Schmetterling, (poetic) Falter, Tagfalter
- Italian: farfalla
- Portuguese: borboleta, panapaná (Brazil)
- Russian: ба́бочка
- Spanish: mariposa
- (transitive) To cut (food) almost entirely in half and spread the halves apart, in a shape suggesting the wings of a butterfly.
- butterflied shrimp
- Butterfly the chicken before you grill it.
- (transitive) To cut strips of surgical tape or plasters into thin strips, and place across (a gaping wound) to close it.