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[drag-uh n-flahy] /ˈdræg ənˌflaɪ/
noun, plural dragonflies.
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.
(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 of dragonfly
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dragonfly
  • The pillowy and interlocking design of these biomes was influenced by dragonfly wings.
  • However, this dragonfly appeared outside my studio window.
  • The dragonfly's skill as an airborne hunter is famous.
  • One can't help exclaiming in awe, since the colored bone is as delicate and lacily beautiful as a dragonfly's iridescent wing.
  • Barely larger than a dragonfly, it will fly by flapping its wings, and it will carry a tiny videocamera for surveillance.
  • The dragonfly then uses its legs and jaws to hold onto its prey.
  • Learn more about the life cycle of a dragonfly and how to tell dragonflies apart from damselflies.
  • Amber can preserve tissue as delicate as dragonfly wings.
  • IF there's anything that can make a grown-up feel silly and inept, it's a dragonfly.
  • It is interesting to watch a dragonfly nymph catch its dinner of small insects and tadpoles.
British Dictionary definitions for dragonfly


noun (pl) -flies
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
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 dragonfly

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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