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

  • n. Either of the leathery or chitinous forewings of a beetle or a related insect, serving to encase the thin, membranous hind wings used in flight. Also called wing case.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sheath or outer covering, especially around the spinal cord or over the hindwings of certain insects.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the anterior pair of wings in the Coleoptera and some other insects, when they are thick and serve only as a protection for the posterior pair.
  • n. One of the shieldlike dorsal scales of certain annelids. See chætopoda.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See elytrum.

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

  • n. either of the horny front wings in beetles and some other insects which cover and protect the functional hind wings


New Latin, from Greek elutron, sheath.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἔλυτρον (elutron, "sheath"). (Wiktionary)



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