the order comprising the lepidopterous insects.

1725–35; < Neo-Latin; plural of lepidopteron

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noun, plural lepidoptera [lep-i-dop-ter-uh] .
any lepidopterous insect.

< Neo-Latin, equivalent to lepido- lepido- + Greek -pteron, neuter of -pteros -pterous

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

1773, "insects with four scaly wings," the biological classification that includes butterflies, coined 1735 by Swed. botanist Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linné, 1707-78) from Gk. lepis (gen. lepidos) "(fish) scale" (related to lepein "to peel") + pteron "wing, feather" (see petition).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for Lepidoptera
Cloudberry leaves are food for caterpillars of several lepidoptera species.
The leaves of the chokecherry serve as food for caterpillars of various lepidoptera.
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