Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A pupa, especially of a moth or butterfly, enclosed in a firm case or cocoon.
  • n. A protected stage of development.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The pupa of a butterfly or moth, enclosed inside a cocoon, in which metamorphosis takes place

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The pupa state of certain insects, esp. of butterflies, from which the perfect insect emerges. See pupa, and aurelia (a).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A form which butterflies, moths, and most other insects assume when they abandon the larval or caterpillar state and before they arrive at their winged or perfect state; specifically, the pupa of a butterfly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pupa of a moth or butterfly enclosed in a cocoon

Etymologies

Latin chrȳsallis, from Greek khrūsallis, khrūsallid-, gold-colored pupa of a butterfly, from khrūsos, gold; see chryso-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek χρυσαλλίς ("golden"), because of the color of some of them. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As soon as it is grown big enough and fat enough, the grub hangs itself up as a "chrysalis" which is a Greek word that may be freely rendered into "golden jewel."

    Woodland Tales

  • The chrysalis is what the silkworm becomes when it finishes spinning its cocoon.

    Boing Boing: December 19, 2004 - December 25, 2004 Archives

  • We also never hear the word chrysalis without thinking of Miss Waterman.

    post-gazette.com - News

  • For insects produce a scolex first; the scolex after developing becomes egg-like (for the so-called chrysalis or pupa is equivalent to an egg); then from this it is that a perfect animal comes into being, reaching the end of its development in the second change.

    On the Generation of Animals

  • A moth just issuing from his chrysalis is the only being which seems to have felt his soporific influence; whereas the other god I have mentioned may vaunt the glory of subduing the most formidable of animals.

    Dreams Waking Thoughts and Incidents

  • Moth caterpillars spin a cocoon while butterfly larvae form a leathery shell called a chrysalis.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • "The metaphor for 'chrysalis' as a bass fiddle with no strings and a small pistol" is so profoundly smart, and on the mark!

    Literate Reply

  • Equipped with a fiscally responsible and well-paid wife I did actually give up a perfectly good day job to ‘become a writer’ as if some kind of chrysalis was involved.

    Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money « Whatever

  • In the nymphalid butterflies, the pupa is often called a 'chrysalis' on account of the golden hue displayed by the cuticle, and the term

    The Life-Story of Insects

  • Why should the fact that a given kind of chrysalis in a given condition will always become a butterfly within a certain time be connected with memory, when it is not pretended that memory has anything to do with the invariableness with which oxygen and hydrogen when mixed in certain proportions make water?

    Unconscious Memory

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