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[kris-uh-lis] /ˈkrɪs ə lɪs/
noun, plural chrysalises, chrysalides
[kri-sal-i-deez] /krɪˈsæl ɪˌdiz/ (Show IPA)
the hard-shelled pupa of a moth or butterfly; an obtect pupa.
Origin of chrysalis
1650-60; < Latin chrȳsalis < Greek chrȳsallís, equivalent to chrȳs- chrys- + -allis suffix, probably with diminutive value Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chrysalis
  • They were shaping a pilot, the hopeful chrysalis of a television show.
  • The three-act structure-caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly-is fully played out here.
  • The caterpillar is driven to be a feeding machine, and once gorged on its food, it spins a cocoon or chrysalis.
  • With a fierce beating of wings, the butterfly has finally escaped her chrysalis and taken flight.
  • From it, he said, butterflies rise after release from the chrysalis state.
  • They have emerged from their clumsily confining, defensive chrysalis.
  • Visitors can view monarch eggs as well as caterpillars and chrysalis in a demonstration area.
  • Caterpillars go through a complete metamorphous, finishing in the chrysalis stage.
  • Following the last molt, the pupa or chrysalis appears.
  • The chrysalis is suspended on lupine stems or deposited in the leaf litter.
British Dictionary definitions for chrysalis


noun (pl) chrysalises, chrysalides (krɪˈsælɪˌdiːz)
the obtect pupa of a moth or butterfly
anything in the process of developing
Word Origin
C17: from Latin chrӯsallis, from Greek khrusallis, from khrusos gold, of Semitic origin; compare Hebrew harūz gold
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 chrysalis

c.1600, from Latin chrysallis, from Greek khrysallis (genitive khrysallidos) "golden colored pupa of the butterfly," from khrysos "gold," perhaps of Semitic origin (cf. Hebrew and Phoenician harutz "gold") + second element meaning something like "sheath." Seeking a plural, OED leans toward the classically correct chrysalides.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chrysalis in Science
  1. The pupa of certain kinds of insects, especially of moths and butterflies, that is inactive and enclosed in a firm case or cocoon from which the adult eventually emerges.

  2. The case or cocoon of a chrysalis.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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