[kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er-]

1400–50; late Middle English catyrpel, probably alteration of an Old North French variant of Old French chatepelose, equivalent to chate cat1 + pelose hairy (≪ Latin pilōsus; see pilose); -yr probably by association with cater tomcat (see caterwaul); final -er probably by association with piller despoiler (see pillage, -er1); cf. chenille Unabridged


[kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er-]
a tractor intended for rough terrain, propelled by two endless belts or tracks that pass over a number of wheels. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caterpillar (ˈkætəˌpɪlə)
the wormlike larva of butterflies and moths, having numerous pairs of legs and powerful biting jaws. It may be brightly coloured, hairy, or spiny
[C15 catyrpel, probably from Old Northern French catepelose, literally: hairy cat]

Caterpillar (ˈkætəˌpɪlə)
1.  an endless track, driven by sprockets or wheels, used to propel a heavy vehicle and enable it to cross soft or uneven ground
2.  a vehicle, such as a tractor, tank, bulldozer, etc, driven by such tracks

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1440, catyrpel, probably altered (by association with M.E. piller "plunderer") from Norm.-Fr. caterpilose, from O.Fr. chatepelose, lit. "hairy cat" (probably in ref. to the "wooly-bear" variety), from L.L. catta "cat" + pilosus "hair." A Swiss Ger. name for it is teufelskatz "devil's cat." Caterpillar
tractor is from 1908.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
caterpillar   (kāt'ər-pĭl'ər)  Pronunciation Key 
The wormlike larva of a butterfly or moth. Caterpillars have thirteen body segments, with three pairs of stubby legs on the thorax and several on the abdomen, six eyes on each side of the head, and short antennae. Caterpillars feed mostly on foliage and are usually brightly colored. Many have poisonous spines.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Caterpillar definition

the consumer. Used in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chr. 6:28; Ps. 78:46; Isa. 33:4) as the translation of a word (hasil) the root of which means "to devour" or "consume," and which is used also with reference to the locust in Deut. 28:38. It may have been a species of locust, or the name of one of the transformations through which the locust passes, locust-grub. It is also found (Ps. 105:34; Jer. 51:14, 27; R.V., "cankerworm") as the rendering of a different Hebrew word, _yelek_, a word elsewhere rendered "cankerworm" (q.v.), Joel 1:4; 2:25. (See LOCUST.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences for Caterpillar
The caterpillar will build a tent in a host plant where it hides in the day.
Behind the mandibles of the caterpillar are the spinnerets, for manipulating silk.
Caterpillar hairs have also been known to cause keratoconjunctivitis.
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