Definition of fritillary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfridlˌerē/


(plural fritillaries)
1A Eurasian plant of the lily family, with hanging bell-like flowers.
  • Genus Fritillaria, family Liliaceae: numerous species.
Example sentences
  • As well as the old favourites, try bluebells, snowflakes, grape hyacinths, lily of the valley, fritillaries, alliums, lilies of every kind and colour.
  • Both the bright red adults and their larvae can strip the foliage from lilies and fritillaries in days.
  • On to Oxfordshire, where it turns out that some of my in-laws own one of the last fritillary meadows in the country; and the fritillaries are in full flower!
2A butterfly with orange-brown wings that are checkered with black.
  • Subfamilies Argynninae and Melitaeinae, family Nymphalidae: Argynnis, Speyeria, and other genera, and numerous species, including the North American great spangled fritillary (S. cybele).
Example sentences
  • To investigate this question, I raised my own Gulf fritillary and pipe-vine swallowtail butterflies so that I could study individuals that had never been exposed to flowers or colors.
  • Variegated fritillary and common buckeye butterflies that the researchers captured, marked, and released in the central patch proved two to four times as likely to show up in connected patches as in unconnected ones.
  • Butterflies, such as the Marsh fritillary and Chalkhill blue, and wildflowers, such as Deptford pink and Meadow clary, depend on these grasslands and are also in decline.


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin fritillaria, from Latin fritillus 'dice box' (probably with reference to the checkered corolla of the snake's-head fritillary).

Words that rhyme with fritillary

ancillary, artillery, capillary, codicillary, distillery, fibrillary, Hilary, maxillary, pillory

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: frit·il·lar·y

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