8 Words That Are Older Than You Think


[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.
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin cicāda Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cicadas
  • cicadas pop sound boxes on their abdomen and make a noise as loud as a jet engine.
  • cicadas are appearing in a variety of foods, including ice cream and cookies.
  • Visitors can wander through dewy tea plantations and bamboo forests, or swim in a reservoir to the buzz of cicadas.
  • Now billions of cicadas are coming out for a final, noisy farewell.
  • While the rest of the wild outdoors operates on an annual cycle, the deafening cicadas are on their own schedule.
  • In years when periodical cicadas emerge, branch flagging can be widespread and dramatic.
  • cicadas surface from the ground where they molt, mate and then die.
  • By now, you have probably heard the constant whirring sound of the adult cicadas, singing to attract mates in our forests.
  • The bird primarily eats large insects including caterpillars and cicadas and, occasionally, small frogs and lizards.
  • Our gathering this week was greeted by another gathering: the cicadas.
British Dictionary definitions for cicadas


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 cicadas



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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