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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ At the moment Paris was living with a lovely nymph named Oenone.
▪ Hood ornaments of streamlined nymphs bearing tiny globes stood as bookends to his Architectural Digests.
▪ I was by then realizing something that had eluded me before, about the fleeing nymphs.
▪ Melanie would be a nymph crowned with daisies once again; he saw her as once she had seen herself.
▪ Roguish fauns and naked nymphs peeked down at Billy from festooned cornices.
▪ The nymphs, or first larval stages of mayflies, are also adapted to very particular conditions.
▪ The blue-winged olive nymph lives among weeds such as water crowfoot.
▪ The same was true for mealworm larvae, a species of butterfly, mosquito larvae, and milkweed-bug nymphs.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

nymph \nymph\ (n[i^]mf), n. [L. nympha nymph, bride, young woman, Gr. ny`mfh: cf. F. nymphe. Cf. Nuptial.]

  1. (Class. Myth.) A goddess of the mountains, forests, meadows, or waters.

    Where were ye, nymphs, when the remorseless deep Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?

  2. Hence: A lovely young girl; a maiden; a damsel.

    Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remembered.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) The pupa of an insect; a chrysalis.

  4. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of a subfamily (Najades) of butterflies including the purples, the fritillaries, the peacock butterfly, etc.; -- called also naiad.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "class of semi-divine female beings," from Old French nimphe (13c.), from Latin nympha "nymph, demi-goddess; bride, mistress, young woman," from Greek nymphe "bride, young wife," later "beautiful young woman," then "semi-divine being in the form of a beautiful maiden;" related to Latin nubere "to marry, wed" (see nuptial). Sub-groups include dryads, hamadryads, naiads, nereids, and oreads. Sense in English of "young woman, girl" is attested from 1580s. Meaning "insect stage between larva and adult" is recorded from 1570s. Related: Nymphal; nymphean.


n. 1 The larva of certain insects. 2 (qualifier: Greek & Roman mythology) Any minor female deity associated with water, forests, grotto, etc. 3 A young girl, especially one who inspires lustful feelings.

  1. n. (classical mythology) a minor nature goddess usually depicted as a beautiful maiden; "the ancient Greeks believed that nymphs inhabited forests and bodies of water"

  2. a larva of an insect with incomplete metamorphosis (as the dragonfly or mayfly)

  3. a voluptuously beautiful young woman [syn: houri]


A nymph (, nymphē ) in Greek mythology and in Latin mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from other goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are beloved by many and dwell in mountainous regions and forests by lakes and streams. Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms. Charybdis and Scylla were once nymphs.

Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally the huntress Artemis. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs.

Nymph (biology)

In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis ( hemimetabolism) before reaching its adult stage. Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a pupal stage. Instead, the final moult results in an adult insect. Nymphs undergo multiple stages of development called instars.

This is the case, for example, in Orthoptera ( crickets and grasshoppers), Hemiptera ( cicadas, shield bugs, etc.), mayflies, termites, cockroaches, mantises, stoneflies and Odonata ( dragonflies and damselflies).

Nymphs of aquatic insects, as in the Odonata, Ephemeroptera, and Plecoptera, are also called naiads, an Ancient Greek name for mythological water nymphs. In older literature, these were sometimes referred to as the heterometabolous insects, as their adult and immature stages live in different environments ( terrestrial vs. aquatic).

In fly fishing with artificial flies, this stage of aquatic insects is the basis for an entire series of representative patterns for trout. They account for over half of the over all patterns regularly fished in the United States.

Nymph (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the nymph is a type of Fey. Nature's embodiment of physical beauty, they are so unbearably lovely that even a glimpse can blind or kill onlookers. They are based on the nymphs of Greek mythology.

Nymph (film)

Nymph (, translit. Nang mai) is a 2009 Thai drama film directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. It competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The 'nymph' in the story is based on the Thai legendary Nang Mai tree deity.

Nymph (disambiguation)

In Greek mythology, a nymph is a female nature-spirit.

Nymph may also mean:

  • Nymph (biology), the immature form of an insect having incomplete metamorphosis
  • Nymph (fishing), a lure that imitates the insect life-stage
  • , a Royal Navy sloop launched in 1778

  • , a Union Navy steamer in the American Civil War

  • BN-3 Nymph, original name of the NAC Freelance airplane
  • The Nymphs (poem), by Leigh Hunt, published in 1818
  • Nymph (Central Figure for "The Three Graces"), a bronze sculpture in Washington, DC
  • The Nymphs, a 1990s US-American alternative rock band
    • The Nymphs (album), released in 1991
  • The Nymph (Ninfa plebea), a 1996 Italian film directed by Lina Wertmüller
  • Nymph (film), a 2009 Thai film
  • Nymphs (Finnish TV series), a 2013 Finnish TV series
  • Nymph, the "Beta Angeloid: Electronic Warfare Type" in the anime Sora no Otoshimono
  • Nymph (Dungeons & Dragons), a monster in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game
  • Nymph, Alabama, a populated place in Conecuh County, Alabama
Nymph (Central Figure for "The Three Graces")

Nymph (Central Figure for "The Three Graces") is a bronze sculpture, by Aristide Maillol. It was modeled in 1930, and cast in 1953, it is at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

In the tradition of the Three Graces in Ancient Roman sculpture, and The Three Graces (sculpture), by Antonio Canova, it shows serenity, in contrast to his contemporary, Auguste Rodin.

Usage examples of "nymph".

In fact, upon hearing that certain masters were dissecting living nymphs in order to ascertain the cause of their madness, he formally abjured his Profession of Faith and quit the Scientists.

Ivy round her glimmering ancle, Vine about her glowing brow, Never sure was bride so beauteous, Daphne, chosen nymph, as thou!

It was down one of the endlessly dividing data branches growing out of that single muffled reference to the set of synthetic genes that had been derived from the embryonic switching mechanisms of the axolotl and the fearsome dragonfly nymph.

He clearly saw a first edition of the damned poem with title page a horrid mixture of typefaces, fat ill-drawn nymphs on it, a round chop which said Bibliotheca Somethingorother.

The beloved son-in-law of the minister, speaking with an open heart to his friends, who were travelling, and absent, represented the King to them as a sort of country-gentleman, given up now to the domestic and uniform life of the manor-house, more than ever devoted to his dame bourgeoise, and making love ecstatically at the feet of this young nymph of fifty seasons.

Supper came up, and I had the pleasure of seeing the two nymphs eat like starving savages, and drink still better.

Corydon and Phyllis beside their purling streams and flowery meads, with nymphs and satyrs caracoling about them.

She had the figure of a nymph, and the new fashion of wearing a mantle not having yet reached her village, I could see the most magnificent bosom, although her dress was fastened up to the neck.

The woman who kept it had furnished the place with great elegance, and she always had twelve or fourteen well-chosen nymphs, with all the conveniences that could be desired.

The wretched landlady, who was standing at the door, said that if we liked to sit down together she could give us an excellent dinner, and I said nothing, or rather I assented to the yes of my two nymphs.

The nymph took her place, I did the same, and we danced the forlana six times without stopping.

Imbri said in another dreamlet, maintaining her nymph image for the purpose.

Wherefore Dryas thinking with himself that this could not come about without the providence of the Gods, and learning mercy from the Sheep, takes her up into his arms, puts her Monuments into his Scrip, and prayes to the Nymphs he may happily preserve, and bring up, their Suppliant, and Votary.

And then presently he sent her away to bring Dryas and Lamo to the Sacrifice, and all things necessary for such a devotion to Pan and to the Nymphs.

You were baptized Ursula, but called Tulla from the start, a nickname probably derived from Thula the Koshnavian water nymph, who lived in Osterwick Lake and was written in various ways: Duller, Tolle, Tullatsch, Thula or Dul, Tul, Thul.