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



    BrE BrE//ˈbʌtəflaɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbʌtərflaɪ//
    (pl. butterflies) Invertebrates, Swimming
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  1. 1 [countable] a flying insect with a long thin body and four large, usually brightly coloured, wings butterflies and moths She's like a butterfly. She flits in and out of people's lives. The butterfly emerged from the pupa. See related entries: Invertebrates
  2. 2[uncountable] a swimming stroke in which you swim on your front and lift both arms forward at the same time while your legs move up and down together She was third in the 200m butterfly (= a swimming race). See related entries: Swimming
  3. Word OriginOld English, from butter + the insect fly; perhaps from the cream or yellow colour of common species, or from an old belief that the insects stole butter.Idioms
    have butterflies (in your stomach)
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    (informal) to have a nervous feeling in your stomach before doing something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: butterfly