from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The newly hatched, wingless, often wormlike form of many insects before metamorphosis.
- n. The newly hatched, earliest stage of any of various animals that undergo metamorphosis, differing markedly in form and appearance from the adult.
- n. Roman Mythology A malevolent spirit of the dead; a lemur.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An early stage of growth for some insects and amphibians, in which after hatching from their egg, insects are wingless and resemble a caterpillar or grub, and amphibians lack limbs and ressemble fish.
- n. An animal in the aforementioned stage.
- n. A form of a recently born or hatched animal that is quite different from its adult stage.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Any young insect from the time that it hatches from the egg until it becomes a pupa, or chrysalis. During this time it usually molts several times, and may change its form or color each time. The larvæ of many insects are much like the adults in form and habits, but have no trace of wings, the rudimentary wings appearing only in the pupa stage. In other groups of insects the larvæ are totally unlike the parents in structure and habits, and are called caterpillars, grubs, maggots, etc.
- n. The early, immature form of any animal when more or less of a metamorphosis takes place, before the assumption of the mature shape.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Roman mythology, a ghost; a specter; a shade: generally in the plural. Compare Lar, 1.
- n. In zoology:
- n. The early form of any animal which during its development is unlike its parent: thus the tadpole, the larva of the frog, is unlike the frog.
- n. A genus of mollusks.
- n. A genus of birds: same as Alca.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the immature free-living form of most invertebrates and amphibians and fish which at hatching from the egg is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose
Latin lārva, specter, mask (because it acts as a specter of or a mask for the adult form).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin larva ("ghost-like, masked"). (Wiktionary)