from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tubular structure, usually concealed but sometimes extending outside the abdomen, with which many female insects deposit eggs.
  • noun A similar organ of certain fishes and turtles.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The ovipositing organ with which many (especially hymenopterous, orthopterous, coleopterous, and dipterous) insects are provided, and by means of which they place their eggs in a position suitable for development.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) The organ with which many insects and some other animals deposit their eggs. Some ichneumon files have a long ovipositor fitted to pierce the eggs or larvæ of other insects, in order to lay their own eggs within the same.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology A tubular protruding organ for laying eggs.

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

  • noun egg-laying tubular structure at the end of the abdomen in many female insects and some fishes


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ovum ("egg") + Latin positor ("one who deposits").



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  • in the context of insect reproduction, this word is mildly amusing, but when I think if it in terms of positing eggs more generally, it makes me laugh

    December 9, 2006

  • Can be used as a weapon as well (see eurytoma wasp)

    July 22, 2009