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caterpillar

[kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er-] /ˈkæt əˌpɪl ər, ˈkæt ər-/
noun
1.
the wormlike larva of a butterfly or a moth.
2.
a person who preys on others; extortioner.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
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

Caterpillar

[kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er-] /ˈkæt əˌpɪl ər, ˈkæt ər-/
Trademark.
1.
a tractor intended for rough terrain, propelled by two endless belts or tracks that pass over a number of wheels.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caterpillars
  • We have all seen changes as considerable in wheat and caterpillars.
  • The hand without the glove screws down the lid on the jar of caterpillars, but the apple trees are already infested.
  • caterpillars are for home demolitions in a globe of tents.
  • The authors measured how fast a group of common brown caterpillars developed at different temperatures.
  • Depending on the season, you may see caterpillars and witness the insects emerging from chrysalises.
  • Visitors can view monarch eggs as well as caterpillars and chrysalis in a demonstration area.
  • Scientists have discovered that certain caterpillars manufacture and secrete their own insect repellent, a new study shows.
  • Plants are constantly struggling to ward off a variety of predators, ranging from caterpillars to cows.
  • caterpillars are nothing but eating machines, you know.
  • When hornworm caterpillars eat tobacco plants, they doom themselves with their own spit.
British Dictionary definitions for caterpillars

caterpillar

/ˈkætəˌpɪlə/
noun
1.
the wormlike larva of butterflies and moths, having numerous pairs of legs and powerful biting jaws. It may be brightly coloured, hairy, or spiny
Word Origin
C15 catyrpel, probably from Old Northern French catepelose, literally: hairy cat

Caterpillar

/ˈkætəˌpɪlə/
noun trademark
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caterpillars

caterpillar

n.

mid-15c., catyrpel, probably altered (by association with Middle English piller "plunderer;" see pillage) from Old North French caterpilose "caterpillar" (Old French chatepelose), literally "shaggy cat" (probably in reference to the "wooly-bear" variety), from Late Latin catta pilosa, from catta "cat" (see cat (n.)) + pilosus "hairy, shaggy, covered with hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). Cf. also French chenille "caterpillar," literally "little dog." A Swiss German name for it is teufelskatz "devil's cat." "The caterpillar has in many idioms received the name of other animals" [Kitchin, who cites also Milanese cagnon "little dog," Italian dialectal gattola "little cat," Kentish hop-dog, hop-cat, Portuguese lagarta "lizard." Cf. also American English wooly-bear for the hairy variety. An Old English name for it was cawelworm "cole-worm." Caterpillar tractor is from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caterpillars in Science
caterpillar
  (kāt'ər-pĭl'ər)   
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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caterpillars in the Bible

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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