A butterfly is a flying insect with a small body and large, often colorful wings. Some gardeners plant specific flowers that attract butterflies.

Butterflies are closely related to moths, which also have wings that are large in proportion to their bodies and antennae. A butterfly is distinctive because of its relatively large size and lovely, patterned wings. After hatching, they start as caterpillars, and eventually build a chrysalis, inside of which they transform into — and emerge as — a butterfly. The origin of butterfly isn't certain, though it may come from some butterflies' pale yellow color.

Definitions of butterfly
  1. noun
    diurnal insect typically having a slender body with knobbed antennae and broad colorful wings
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    brush-footed butterfly, four-footed butterfly, nymphalid, nymphalid butterfly
    medium to large butterflies found worldwide typically having brightly colored wings and much-reduced nonfunctional forelegs carried folded on the breast
    ringlet, ringlet butterfly
    any of various butterflies belonging to the family Satyridae
    danaid, danaid butterfly
    large tropical butterfly with degenerate forelegs and an unpleasant taste
    pierid, pierid butterfly
    any of numerous pale-colored butterflies having three pairs of well-developed legs
    sulfur butterfly, sulphur butterfly
    any of numerous yellow or orange butterflies
    lycaenid, lycaenid butterfly
    any of various butterflies of the family Lycaenidae
    Camberwell beauty, Nymphalis antiopa, mourning cloak, mourning cloak butterfly
    of temperate regions; having dark purple wings with yellow borders
    tortoiseshell, tortoiseshell butterfly
    brilliantly colored; larvae feed on nettles
    Vanessa virginiensis, painted beauty
    American butterfly having dark brown wings with white and golden orange spots
    any of several brightly colored butterflies
    Vanessa atalanta, red admiral
    of temperate Europe and Asia; having black wings with red and white markings
    Limenitis camilla, white admiral
    Eurasian butterfly with brown wings and white markings
    Limenitis arthemis, banded purple, white admiral
    North American butterfly with blue-black wings crossed by a broad white band
    Limenitis astyanax, red-spotted purple
    similar to the banded purple but with red spots on underwing surfaces
    Limenitis archippus, viceroy
    showy American butterfly resembling the monarch but smaller
    nymphalid butterfly having angular notches on the outer edges of the forewings
    Polygonia comma, comma, comma butterfly
    anglewing butterfly with a comma-shaped mark on the underside of each hind wing
    butterfly with brownish wings marked with black and silver
    emperor, emperor butterfly
    large richly colored butterfly
    Inachis io, peacock, peacock butterfly
    European butterfly having reddish-brown wings each marked with a purple eyespot
    Danaus plexippus, milkweed butterfly, monarch, monarch butterfly
    large migratory American butterfly having deep orange wings with black and white markings; the larvae feed on milkweed
    cabbage butterfly
    white butterfly whose larvae (cabbageworms) feed on cabbage
    any of numerous small butterflies of the family Lycaenidae
    any of various small butterflies of the family Lycaenidae having coppery wings
    hairstreak, hairstreak butterfly
    small butterflies having striped markings under the wings
    type of:
    lepidopteran, lepidopteron, lepidopterous insect
    insect that in the adult state has four wings more or less covered with tiny scales
  2. verb
    flutter like a butterfly
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    type of:
    dart, fleet, flit, flutter
    move along rapidly and lightly; skim or dart
  3. noun
    a swimming stroke in which the arms are thrown forward together out of the water while the feet kick up and down
    synonyms: butterfly stroke
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    type of:
    swimming stroke
    a method of moving the arms and legs to push against the water and propel the swimmer forward
  4. verb
    cut and spread open, as in preparation for cooking
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    type of:
    open, spread, spread out, unfold
    spread out or open from a closed or folded state
  5. verb
    talk or behave amorously, without serious intentions
    synonyms: chat up, coquet, coquette, dally, flirt, mash, philander, romance
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    engage in amorous play
    act seductively with (someone)
    type of:
    speak, talk
    exchange thoughts; talk with
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