Definition for IN'SECT

IN'SECT, n. [L. insecta, plur., from inseco, to cut in; in and seco, to cut. This name seems to have been originally given to certain small animals whose bodies appear cut in, or almost divided. So in Greek, εντομα.]

  1. In zoology, a small invertebral animal, breathing by lateral spiracles, and furnished with articulated extremities and movable antennæ. Most insects pass through several states or metamorphoses, as the egg, the larve, the pupe or chrysalis, and the imago or perfect insect. The class of insects, in the Linnæan system, is divided into seven orders, the last of which (Aptera) includes the Crustacea, which breathe by gills, and the Arachnides, which have no antennæ, now forming two distinct classes. Linnæus. Cuvier. The term insect has been applied, but improperly, to other small invertebral animals of the Linnæan class Vermes. Encyc.
  2. Any thing small or contemptible. Thomson.

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