Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: INSECTS

Language: Old English
Origin: buterfleoge, from butere ( BUTTER1) + fleoge 'fly'; perhaps because many types of butterfly are yellow, or because people believed that butterflies steal milk and butter

butterfly

noun
     
butterfly
but‧ter‧fly plural butterflies [countable]
1HBI a type of insect that has large wings, often with beautiful colours
2

have/get butterflies (in your stomach)

informal to feel very nervous before doing something:
I always get butterflies before an exam.
3DSS

the butterfly

a way of swimming by lying on your front and moving your arms together over your head while your legs move up and down
4 someone who usually moves on quickly from one activity or person to the next:
Gwen's a real social butterfly.
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