Definitions

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

  • n. An elaterid beetle.
  • n. Botany A tiny elongated structure that forces the dispersal of spores by the absorption of moisture. It is either a band attached to the spore, as in horsetails, or a filament occurring among the spores, as in liverworts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. That which elates.
  • n. Elasticity; especially the expansibility of a gas.
  • n. A long, slender cell produced among spores and having hygroscopic secondary cell wall thickenings.
  • n. Any of the long, slender hygroscopic appendages attached to the spores of horsetails (genus Equisetum).
  • n. An elaterid, or click beetle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, elates.
  • n. An elastic spiral filament for dispersing the spores, as in some liverworts.
  • n. Any beetle of the family Elateridæ, having the habit, when laid on the back, of giving a sudden upward spring, by a quick movement of the articulation between the abdomen and thorax; -- called also click beetle, spring beetle, and snapping beetle.
  • n. The caudal spring used by Podura and related insects for leaping. See Collembola.
  • n. The active principle of elaterium, being found in the juice of the wild or squirting cucumber (Ecballium agreste, formerly Motordica Elaterium) and other related species. It is extracted as a bitter, white, crystalline substance, which is a violent purgative.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who or that which elates.
  • n. Elasticity; especially, the expansibility of a gas.
  • n. [NL.] In botany: One of the four clubshaped filaments of Equisetaceæ, attached at one point to a spore, formed by the splitting of the outer coat of the spore.
  • n. One of the long and slender fusiform cells of Hepaticæ having one or more spiral thickenings within. They loosen the spores in the capsule at the time of their dispersion.
  • n. One of the similar free filaments of Myxomycetes forming part of the capillitium, and frequently having spiral thickenings. They are sometimes furnished with spines. Their characters are useful in distinguishing species.
  • n. [NL.] In entomology: [capitalized] The typical genus of the family Elateridæ, founded by Linnæus in 1767.
  • n. One of the Elateridæ; a click-beetle.
  • n. One of the elastic bristles at the end of the abdomen of the Poduridæ. A. S. Packard. See spring.

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

  • n. any of various widely distributed beetles

Etymologies

Greek elatēr, driver, from elaunein, to drive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
elate +‎ -er (Wiktionary)
From New Latin elater, from Ancient Greek ἐλατήρ (elater, "driver, that which drives away") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I amused myself one day by observing the springing powers of this insect, which have not, as it appears to me, been properly described. 15 The elater, when placed on its back and preparing to spring, moved its head and thorax backwards, so that the pectoral spine was drawn out, and rested on the edge of its sheath.

    Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle

  • When we were at Bahia, an elater or beetle (Pyrophorus luminosus, Illig.) seemed the most common luminous insect.

    Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle

  • Persons viciously inclined, want no wheels to make them actively vicious; as having the elater and spring of their own natures to facilitate their iniquities.

    Christian Morals

  • It is the elater, or still more scientifically, the _Pyrophorus noctilucus_.

    On the Banks of the Amazon

  • In the marshy districts is seen the large elater, which displays both red and green lights; the red glare, like that of a lamp, alternately flashing on the beholder, then concealed as the insect turns his body in flight, but the ruddy reflection on the grass beneath being constantly visible as it leisurely pursues its course.

    The Western World Picturesque Sketches of Nature and Natural History in North and South America

  • The elater, when placed on its back and preparing to spring, moved its head and thorax backwards, so that the pectoral spine was drawn out, and rested on the edge of its sheath.

    The Voyage of the Beagle

  • Now, if we understand by motive (elater animi) the subjective ground of determination of the will of a being whose reason does not necessarily conform to the objective law, by virtue of its own nature, then it will follow, first, that not motives can be attributed to the Divine will, and that the motives of the human will (as well as that of every created rational being) can never be anything else than the moral law, and consequently that the objective principle of determination must always and alone be also the subjectively sufficient determining principle of the action, if this is not merely to fulfil the letter of the law, without containing its spirit.

    The Critique of Practical Reason

  • 5 The elater, when placed on its back and preparing to spring, moved its head and thorax backwards, so that the pectoral spine was drawn out, and rested on the edge of its sheath.

    Chapter II

  • When we were at Bahia, an elater or beetle (Pyrophorus luminosus,

    The Voyage of the Beagle

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