Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “caterpillar”


noun [C]    /ˈkæt̬·əˌpɪl·ər, ˈkæt̬·ər-/
a small animal with a narrow body and many legs, and which feeds on the leaves of plants and later develops into a butterfly or moth (= flying insect)
(Definition of caterpillar noun from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of caterpillar

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with The development & parts of insects, but you might be interested in these topics from the Fish, Reptiles, Insects and Other Animals topic area:

Definitions of “caterpillar” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


showing a wish to help or bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More