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[el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/
plural of elytron.


[el-i-tron] /ˈɛl ɪˌtrɒn/
noun, plural elytra
[el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/ (Show IPA)
one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings.
Also called wing case, wing cover.
Origin of elytron
1745-55; < New Latin < Greek élytron a covering
Related forms
[el-i-truh s] /ˈɛl ɪ trəs/ (Show IPA),


[el-i-truh m] /ˈɛl ɪ trəm/
noun, plural elytra
[el-i-truh] /ˈɛl ɪ trə/ (Show IPA).
Latinized variant of elytron Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for elytra
  • The elytra are marked with distinct white maculations.
  • Maculations are incomplete and join to form a broad white band along the lateral edge of the elytra.
  • Shiny silvery spots form two irregular bands crossing the elytra.
  • The sides of the elytra of males are nearly parallel whereas females are somewhat more broadly rounded.
  • Adults have a green-bronze head and thorax and paired dark markings on their cream-colored forewings, or elytra.
  • Paint will be applied in a manner that will not cause damage to the elytra.
  • In beetles, wings may be hardened into tough convex body coverings called elytra.
  • Surface of a few anterior elytra covered with simple papillae, posterior elytra with papillae on anterior and lateral margins.
  • The elytra must be raised in order to move the hind flight wings.
British Dictionary definitions for elytra


noun (pl) -tra (-trə)
either of the horny front wings of beetles and some other insects, which cover and protect the hind wings
Derived Forms
elytroid, elytrous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Greek elutron sheath, covering
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 elytra

1774, plural of elytron "hardened wing of an insect," from Greek elytron "sheath," from elyein "to roll round," from PIE root *wel- "to turn, roll," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects (see volvox).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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elytra in Science

Plural elytra
Either of the modified forewings of a beetle or related insect that encase the thin hind wings used in flight.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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