a wasp



  • Any of many types of stinging flying insect resembling a hornet.
  • Any of the members of suborder Apocrita, excepting the ants (family Formicidae) and bees (clade Anthophila).
  • A person who behaves in an angry or insolent way, hence waspish.
  • Alternate spelling of WASP



  • From Middle English wasp, waspe, waps, from Old English wæsp, wæps, from Proto-West Germanic *wapsu, from Proto-Germanic *wapsō, from Proto-Indo-European *wobʰseh₂ ("wasp"), from *webʰ- (referring to the insect's woven nests). Compare Dutch wesp, German Wespe, Danish hveps. The metathesis of s and p reflects a process of some generality in Old English, cf. ascian ~ acsian; here, Latin vespa (also a cognate- cf. Old French wespe) may have helped tilt the scales in favour of -sp.
  • Originally an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

Modern English dictionary

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