caterpillar [ kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er- ]
1. the wormlike larva of a butterfly or a moth.
2. a person who preys on others; extortioner.
canker, butterfly, moth, tractor, larva
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Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English catyrpel, probably alteration of an Old North French variant of Old French chatepelose, equivalent to chate cat + pelose hairy (≪ Latin pilōsus; see pilose); -yr probably by association with cater tomcat (see caterwaul); final -er probably by association with piller despoiler (see pillage, -er1); cf. chenille
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