Definition of chrysalis in English:


Line breaks: chrys|alis
Pronunciation: /ˈkrɪs(ə)lɪs

noun (plural chrysalises)

  • 1A quiescent insect pupa, especially of a butterfly or moth: the transformation from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and, finally, adult
    More example sentences
    • Don't tidy up too much in the fall; whether a butterfly overwinters as egg, caterpillar, chrysalis or adult, it needs a place to hibernate during the cold months.
    • In this nonfeeding condition it is called a pupa or chrysalis.
    • The only chrysalises we eat in Korea are from silkworms.
  • 1.1The hard outer case enclosing a chrysalis: the splitting of the chrysalis and the slow unfolding of the wings
    More example sentences
    • Only then do they desist, becoming immobile in a hard chrysalis suspended from a leaf or stem of the larval host plant until emerging as an adult butterfly.
    • It appeared to be drying off its wings after emerging from its chrysalis and was happy to pose for a picture before flying off.
    • Release the butterfly where it was captured as soon as it emerges from its chrysalis.
  • 1.2A transitional state: she emerged from the chrysalis of self-conscious adolescence
    More example sentences
    • Already, the gross excrescence that is slowly emerging from its chrysalis is provoking horror among local residents, as its impact on a once gracious townscape becomes evident.
    • It was as though the dance had not yet fully emerged from a too-cool chrysalis.
    • Indeed, the next day we're ready to emerge from our chrysalis for some shopping in town.


early 17th century: from Latin chrysal(l)is, chrysal(l)id-, from Greek khrusallis, from khrusos 'gold' (because of the gold colour or metallic sheen of some pupae).

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