nymph / nimf/ • n. 1. a mythological spirit of nature imagined as a beautiful maiden inhabiting rivers, woods, or other locations. ∎ chiefly poetic/lit. a beautiful young woman. 2. an immature form of an insect that does not change greatly as it grows, e.g., a dragonfly, mayfly, or locust. Compare with larva. ∎ an artificial fly made to resemble the aquatic nymph of an insect, used in fishing. 3. a mainly brown butterfly (subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae) that frequents woods and forest glades. DERIVATIVES: nymph·al / ˈnimfəl/ adj. nym·phe·an / ˈnimfēən/ adj. nymph·like / -līk/ adj. ORIGIN: late Middle English: from Old French nimphe, from Latin nympha, from Greek numphē ‘nymph, bride.’
- Atlantides (Pleiades ) seven daughters of Atlas by Pleione. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 37]
- Camenae fountain nymphs; identified with Greek Muses. [Rom. Myth.: Zimmerman, 49]
- dryads divine maidens of the woods. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 108]
- hamadryads wood nymphs. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 113]
- Hyades seven daughters of Atlas, entrusted with the care of the infant Dionysus. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 134]
- limoniads nymphs of meadows and flowers. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 152]
- naiads divine maidens of lakes, streams, and fountains. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 256]
- Napaeae nymphs of woodland glens and vales. [Rom. Myth.: Howe, 174]
- Nereids sea nymphs of the Mediterranean. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 257]
- Oceanids sea nymphs of the great oceans. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 263]
- oreads divine maidens of the mountains. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 270]
Obesity (See FATNESS .)
In literary use from the early 17th century, nymph may be used for a river or stream.
nymphaeum a grotto or shrine dedicated to a nymph or nymphs; a building or part of a building built to represent such a shrine.
1. A crescent-shaped platform, present in certain bivalves, to which the ligament is attached.
2. See LARVA.