un nymphean


one of a numerous class of lesser deities of mythology, conceived of as beautiful maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, woods, trees, mountains, meadows, etc., and frequently mentioned as attending a superior deity.
a beautiful or graceful young woman.
a maiden.
the young of an insect that undergoes incomplete metamorphosis.

1350–1400; Middle English nimphe < Latin nympha < Greek nýmphē bride, nymph

nymphal, nymphean [nim-fee-uhn] , adjective
unnymphal, adjective
unnymphean, adjective

1. naiad, nereid, oread, dryad, hamadryad. See sylph.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To un nymphean
World English Dictionary
nymph (nɪmf)
1.  myth a spirit of nature envisaged as a beautiful maiden
2.  poetic chiefly a beautiful young woman
3.  the immature form of some insects, such as the dragonfly and mayfly, and certain arthropods. Nymphs resemble the adult, apart from having underdeveloped reproductive organs and (in the case of insects) wings, and develop into the adult without a pupal stage
[C14: via Old French from Latin, from Greek numphē nymph; related to Latin nūbere to marry]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1390, "class of semi-divine female beings," from O.Fr. nimphe, from L. nympha "nymph, bride," from Gk. nymphe "bride," later "beautiful young woman," then "semi-divine being in the form of a beautiful maiden;" related to L. nubere "to marry, wed" (see nuptial). Sub-groups
include dryads, hamadryads, naiads, nereids, and oreads. Sense in Eng. of "young woman, girl" is attested from 1584. Meaning "insect stage between larva and adult" is recorded from 1577. Nymphet "sexually attractive young girl" is from 1955, introduced by Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) in his novel "Lolita" to describe alluring (in the eyes of some men) girls age 9 to 14.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
nymph  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (nĭmf)  Pronunciation Key 
The immature form of those insects that do not pass through a pupal stage. Nymphs usually resemble the adults, but are smaller, lack fully developed wings, and are sexually immature. Compare imago, larva, pupa.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature