from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having no wings or winglike extensions: an apterous insect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Destitute of wings; wingless.
  • adj. Destitute of winglike membranous expansions, as a stem or petiole.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Destitute of wings; apteral.
  • adj. Destitute of winglike membranous expansions, as a stem or petiole; -- opposed to alate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In zoology: Wingless; having no wings: applied both to wingless insects belonging to winged groups, and to the wingless stage of winged insects.
  • Specifically, of or pertaining to the Aptera.
  • In botany, destitute of membranous expansions, as a stem or petiole: opposed to alate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of insects) without wings


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • To describe wind-tossed newsprint as "apterous" and to hear in it "the sonorous souls of Russian verbs" distills in three syllables his life in exile.

    Anecdotal Evidence

  • The word is "apterous," new to me and found in the second paragraph of his story "` That in Aleppo Once … '":

    Anecdotal Evidence

  • In the thoracic segments, located about a third of the way down from the head, certain neuroblasts generate four neurons called the Ap (for "apterous") cluster, distinguished from other neurons by the expression of a specific set of transcription factors.

    PLoS Biology: New Articles

  • The dorsal-ventral boundaries of the vertebrate limb bud and the insect wing disc are established by a gene called fringe; other axes and boundaries are defined by genes in the wingless, apterous, hedgehog, and decapentaplegic families, and they operate in roughly similar ways in both groups of animals.

    PZ Myers - The Deepest Links (on Evolution)

  • Collembola: an ordinal term applied to species which are apterous; have no metamorphoses; have variably developed abdominal saltatorial appendages and a peculiar ventral tube at base: the spring-tails.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

  • No doubt Dr. Hooker collected the Kerguelen moth, for I remember he told me of the case when I suggested in the "Origin," the explanation of the coleoptera of Madeira being apterous; but he did not know what had become of the specimens.

    More Letters of Charles Darwin — Volume 2

  • But why these apterous insects should that day take such a wonderful aerial excursion, and why their webs should at once become so gross and material as to be considerably more weighty than air, and to descend with precipitation, is

    The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 2

  • "And the sonorous souls of Russian verbs, lend a meaning to the wild gesticulation of trees or to some discarded newspaper sliding and pausing, and shuffling again, with abortive flaps and apterous jerks along an endless windswept embankment."

    Anecdotal Evidence

  • On a less elevated level, "apterous jerks" brings to mind writers of leaden prose whose words never take wing.

    Anecdotal Evidence

  • However, in Thorectes wing muscles are atrophied because these species are apterous, having lost their capacity to fly.

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  • JM begins yet another apterous day.

    January 18, 2011