American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several burrowing, usually solitary wasps of the family Sphecidae that excavate nests in soil which they provision with prey paralyzed by stinging for their larvae to feed on.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The popular name of the fossorial hymenopterous insects of the families Scoliidæ, Pompilidæ, and Sphegidæ, most of which dig burrows in the ground, in which they lay their eggs, provisioning each cell with the bodies of other insects, on which their larvæ feed after hatching. Sphex ichneumonea is a large rust-colored species which digs holes six inches deep and provisions them with grasshoppers; Chlorion cæruleum provisions the nest with spiders, and Ammophila pictipennis with cutworms. See also cut under
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) any one of the fossorial Hymenoptera.
- n. any one of numerous species of solitary wasps that make their nests in burrows which they dig in the ground, as the sand wasps. See Sand wasp, under Sand.
- n. solitary wasp that digs nests in the soil and stocks them with paralyzed insects for the larvae
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