Any of various carnivorous insects of the order Mecoptera, which includes the scorpionflies, characterized by long membranous wings and an elongated beaklike head having chewing mouthparts at the tip.
[From New Latin Mēcoptera, order name : Greek mēkos, length; see māk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + Greek ptera, pl. of pteron, wing; see pet- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.