plural noun, singular cantharis [kan-thar-is] .
Spanish fly ( def 1 ).
cantharis, Spanish fly ( def 2 ).

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin, plural of cantharis < Greek kantharís blister fly Unabridged

Spanish fly

Also called cantharides. a preparation of powdered blister beetles, especially the Spanish fly, used medicinally as a counterirritant, diuretic, and aphrodisiac.
Also, Spanishfly. Also called cantharis. a common European blister beetle, Cantharis (Lytta ) vesicatoria, that yields this preparation.

1400–50; so called from the fact that the beetles are found in abundance in Spain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cantharides (kænˈθærɪˌdiːz)
pl n , sing cantharis
Also called: Spanish fly a diuretic and urogenital stimulant or irritant prepared from the dried bodies of Spanish fly (family Meloidae, not Cantharidae), once thought to be an aphrodisiac
[C15: from Latin, plural of cantharis, from Greek kantharis Spanish fly]

Spanish fly
1.  a European blister beetle, Lytta vesicatoria (family Meloidae), the dried bodies of which yield the pharmaceutical product cantharides
2.  another name for cantharides

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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