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dragonfly

[drag-uh n-flahy] /ˈdræg ənˌflaɪ/
noun, plural dragonflies.
1.
any of numerous stout-bodied, nonstinging insects of the order Odonata (suborder Anisoptera), the species of which prey on mosquitoes and other insects and are distinguished from the damselflies by having the wings outstretched rather than folded when at rest.
2.
(initial capital letter) Military. a two-seat, twin-turbojet U.S. attack aircraft in service since 1967, armed with a Minigun and capable of carrying nearly 5700 pounds (2585 kg) of ordnance.
Origin
1620-1630
1620-30; dragon + fly2
Regional variation note
1. the dragonfly is also called a darning needle and a devil's darning needle in the Northern and Western U.S. In the Northern U.S. it is also called a sewing needle. In the Midland U.S. it is called a snake feeder, in the South Midland and Southern U.S. a snake doctor, and in the Southern U.S., especially in the Southern Coastal areas, it is called a mosquito hawk or a skeeter hawk. Spindle is also in use, chiefly in New Jersey and in the Delaware Valley. Ear sewer is in older use in some scattered regional areas.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for dragonflies
  • However, this species probably takes more dragonflies than any other food item.
  • Images of dragonflies were common in art nouveau, especially in jewelry designs.
British Dictionary definitions for dragonflies

dragonfly

/ˈdræɡənˌflaɪ/
noun (pl) -flies
1.
any predatory insect of the suborder Anisoptera, having a large head and eyes, a long slender body, two pairs of iridescent wings that are outspread at rest, and aquatic larvae: order Odonata See also damselfly
2.
any other insect of the order Odonata
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 dragonflies

dragonfly

n.

1620s, from dragon + fly (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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