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Meaning of Caterpiller

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  • The larva of a butterfly or moth.
  • A vehicle with a caterpillar track.


  • The trademark of Caterpillar Inc., which manufactures heavy equipment and construction vehicles.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia

CATERPILLAR. A nick name for a soldier. In the year
1745, a soldier quartered at a house near Derby, was desired
by his landlord to call upon him, whenever he came
that way; for, added he, soldiers are the pillars of the
nation. The rebellion being finished, it happened the same
regiment was quartered in Derbyshire, when the soldier
resolved to accept of his landlord's invitation, and
accordingly obtained leave to go to him: but, on his arrival,
he was greatly surprised to find a very cold reception;
whereupon expostulating with his landlord, he reminded him of
his invitation, and the circumstance of his having said,
soldiers were the pillars of the nation. If I did, answered the
host, I meant CATERpiliars.
- The Devil's Dictionary (Ambrose Bierce)

Cat"er*pil`lar (?), n. [OE. catyrpel, corrupted fr. OF. chatepelouse, or cate pelue, fr. chate, F. chatte, she-cat, fem. of chat, L. catus + L. pilosus hairy, or F. pelu hairy, fr. L. pilus hair. See Cat, and Pile hair.] 1. (Zoöl.) The larval state of a butterfly or any lepidopterous insect; sometimes, but less commonly, the larval state of other insects, as the sawflies, which are also called false caterpillars. The true caterpillars have three pairs of true legs, and several pairs of abdominal fleshy legs (prolegs) armed with hooks. Some are hairy, others naked. They usually feed on leaves, fruit, and succulent vegetables, being often very destructive, Many of them are popularly called worms, as the cutworm, cankerworm, army worm, cotton worm, silkworm.

2. (Bot.) A plant of the genus Scorpiurus, with pods resembling caterpillars.

Caterpillar catcher, orCaterpillar eater(Zoöl.), a bird belonging to the family of Shrikes, which feeds on caterpillars. The name is also given to several other birds. -- Caterpillar hunter(Zoöl.), any species of beetles of the genus Callosoma and other allied genera of the family Carabidæ which feed habitually upon caterpillars.

- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

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