—n. 1. any of numerous diurnal insects of the order Lepidoptera, characterized by clubbed antennae, a slender body, and large, broad, often conspicuously marked wings.
2. a person who flits aimlessly from one interest or group to another: a social butterfly. 3. butterflies,(used with a pl. v.)Informal.a queasy feeling, as from nervousness, excitement, etc.
4. a racing breaststroke, using a dolphin kick, in which the swimmer brings both arms out of the water in forward, circular motions.
5. Carpentry.See butterfly wedge. 6. Sculpture.an X-shaped support attached to an armature.
7. one of the swinging brackets of a butterfly table.
8. Motion Pictures.a screen of scrim, gauze, or similar material, for diffusing light.
—v.t. Cookery.to slit open and spread apart to resemble the spread wings of a butterfly.
—adj.Also,butterflied. Cookery.split open and spread apart to resemble a butterfly: butterfly shrimp; butterfly steak.