larval

lar·va (lär’və)
n. pl. lar·vae (-vē) or lar·vas 1) The newly hatched, wingless, often wormlike form of many insects before metamorphosis. 2) The newly hatched, earliest form of any of various animals that undergo metamorphosis, differing markedly in appearance from the adult. 3) Roman Mythology A malevolent spirit of the dead.
[Latin lārva, specter, mask (because it acts as a specter of or a mask for the adult form).]
lar’val adj.
Word History: The word larva referring to the newly hatched form of insects before they undergo metamorphosis comes from the Latin word lārva, meaning "evil spirit, ghost, demon." The Latin word also was used to mean "a terrifying mask," such as one that might have been worn by a Roman performer in the role of such an evil spirit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists began to use the Latin word to describe the stage in an insect's life during which its final form is still hidden—the larval stage is a mask, so to speak, that the insect will later remove to reveal its adult appearance.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • larval — lar val (l[aum]r val), a. [L. larvalis ghostly. See {Larva}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Of or pertaining to a larva. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • larval — 1650s, from L. larvalis, from larva (see LARVA (Cf. larva)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • larval — adj. 2 g. 1. Da natureza da larva. 2. Relativo a larva. 3.  [Figurado] Relativo a fantasmas. 4. Assustador. • Sinônimo geral: LARVAR, LARVÁRIO …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • larval — (De larva). adj. larvario …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • larval — adjective 1. immature of its kind; especially being or characteristic of immature insects in the newly hatched wormlike feeding stage (Freq. 1) larval societies larval crayfishes the larval stage • Similar to: ↑immature • Derivationally related …   Useful english dictionary

  • larval — ► adjetivo ZOOLOGÍA De la larva: ■ algunos peces pasan por una fase larval durante su desarrollo. * * * larval adj. Zool. De [la] larva. * * * larval. (De larva). adj. larvario. * * * ► …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • larval — adj. Larval is used with these nouns: ↑stage …   Collocations dictionary

  • larval — [[t]lɑ͟ː(r)v(ə)l[/t]] ADJ: ADJ n Larval means concerning insect larvae or in the state of being an insect larva …   English dictionary

  • larval — larva ► NOUN (pl. larvae) ▪ an active immature form of an insect or other animal that undergoes metamorphosis, e.g. a caterpillar or tadpole. DERIVATIVES larval adjective. ORIGIN originally denoting a disembodied spirit: from Latin, ghost, mask …   English terms dictionary

  • larval — adjective see larva …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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