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[si-key-duh, -kah-] /sɪˈkeɪ də, -ˈkɑ-/
noun, plural cicadas, cicadae
[si-key-dee, -kah-] /sɪˈkeɪ di, -ˈkɑ-/ (Show IPA)
any large homopterous insect of the family Cicadidae, the male of which produces a shrill sound by means of vibrating membranes on the underside of the abdomen.
Origin of cicada
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin cicāda Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cicada
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps they thought what the cicada said, "Ah, that is the way to live!"

    Among the Meadow People Clara Dillingham Pierson
  • Only in the trees is heard at intervals the whir of the cicada.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • The cicada, celebrated for its chirp, and the lanthorn fly, belong to this group.

  • There are few other sounds, for it is winter, and the tree-frog and cicada are silent.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
  • One cicada can make noise enough; but imagine the din of millions of them all going at the same time.

  • And that very day she declared war on the cicada and his kind.

    Woodland Tales Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • But at this season of the year the cicada has a long time since passed from life to death.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • She wanted to get that cicada body into her den, to feed her young ones with it.

    Woodland Tales Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • Tectiform: roof-like, sloping from a median ridge, like the primaries of cicada.

British Dictionary definitions for cicada


noun (pl) -das, -dae (-diː), -las, -le (-leɪ)
any large broad insect of the homopterous family Cicadidae, most common in warm regions. Cicadas have membranous wings and the males produce a high-pitched drone by vibration of a pair of drumlike abdominal organs
Word Origin
C19: from Latin
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 cicada

late 14c., from Latin cicada "cicada, tree cricket," not a native Latin word; perhaps a loan-word from a lost Mediterranean language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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