Definition of insect noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  

insect

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈɪnsekt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈɪnsekt//
 
Invertebrates
 
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any small creature with six legs and a body divided into three parts. Insects usually also have wings. Ants, bees and flies are all insects. insect species insect repellent (= a chemical that keeps insects away) an insect bite The pesticide is lethal to all insect life. CollocationsThe living worldAnimals animals mate/​breed/​reproduce/​feed (on something) fish/​amphibians swim/​spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/​migrate/​nest/​sing insects crawl/​fly/​bite/​sting insects/​bees/​locusts swarm bees collect/​gather nectar/​pollen spiders spin/​weave a web snakes/​lizards shed their skins bears/​hedgehogs/​frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/​develop/​pupate an egg/​a chick/​a larva hatches attract/​find/​choose a mate produce/​release eggs/​sperm lay/​fertilize/​incubate/​hatch eggs inhabit a forest/​a reef/​the coast mark/​enter/​defend (a) territory stalk/​hunt/​capture/​catch/​kill preyPlants and fungi trees/​plants grow/​bloom/​blossom/​flower a seed germinates/​sprouts leaves/​buds/​roots/​shoots appear/​develop/​form flower buds swell/​open a fungus grows/​spreads/​colonizes something pollinate/​fertilize a flower/​plant produce/​release/​spread/​disperse pollen/​seeds/​spores produce/​bear fruit develop/​grow/​form roots/​shoots/​leaves provide/​supply/​absorb/​extract/​release nutrients perform/​increase/​reduce photosynthesisBacteria and viruses bacteria/​microbes/​viruses grow/​spread/​multiply bacteria/​microbes live/​thrive in/​on something bacteria/​microbes/​viruses evolve/​colonize something/​cause disease bacteria break something down/​convert something (into something) a virus enters/​invades something/​the body a virus mutates/​evolves/​replicates (itself) be infected with/​contaminated with/​exposed to a new strain of a virus/​drug-resistant bacteria contain/​carry/​harbour (especially US English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria see also stick insect Insect is often used to refer to other small creatures, for example spiders, although this is not correct scientific language. See related entries: Invertebrates Word Origin early 17th cent. (originally denoting any small cold-blooded creature with a segmented body): from Latin (animal) insectum ‘segmented (animal)’ (translating Greek zōion entomon), from insecare ‘cut up or into’, from in- ‘into’ + secare ‘to cut’.Extra examples An insect was buzzing around the room. Birds control insect pests. Gardeners welcome birds as they control insect pests. Insects had bored deep into the wood. Social insects, such as ants, live in large colonies. The wood should be treated against insect attack. Unfortunately, pesticides kill off beneficial insects as well as harmful ones. Wasps are the master builders of the insect world.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: insect

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