AskDefine | Define larvae

Dictionary Definition

larva n : the immature free-living form of most invertebrates and amphibians and fish which at hatching from the egg is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose [also: larvae (pl)]larvae See larva

User Contributed Dictionary




larvae plural
  1. Plural of larva.



  1. Genitive of larva.
  2. Plural of larva.

Extensive Definition

In Roman mythology, the larvae or lemures (singular lemur) were the spectres or spirits of the dead; they were the malignant version of the lares. Some Roman writers describe lemures as the common name for all the spirits of the dead, and divide them into two classes: the lares, or the benevolent souls of the family, which haunted and guarded the domus or household, and the larvae, or the restless and fearful souls of wicked men. But the more common idea was that the Lemures and Larvae were the same. They were said to wander about at night and to torment and frighten the living.
On May 9, 11, and 13, the Lemuralia or Lemuria, the feast of the Lemures, occurred, when black beans were offered to the Larvae in the hopes of propitiating them; loud noises were also used to frighten them away.
Lemurs were so named by Linnaeus for their big eyes, nocturnal habits and unearthly noises they make at night. Some species of lemur were identified by their calls before scientists had seen individuals.


The singular form of larvae is larva in both Latin and English. The singular of lemures is lemur in both languages; Dungeons & Dragons and some other fantasy worlds have adopted the back formation lemure as the singular, following English singularization rules and therefore presumably pronounced as demure, immure, etc.


  • At the Original Video Animation (OVA) of the anime Vampire Princess Miyu (80's),Larva appears as her shinma (a hybrid of God and devil being) companion. Larva's friend, that appears during the 3rd episode of the series is called Lemures.
larvae in German: Larvae
larvae in Modern Greek (1453-): Λεμούρια
larvae in French: Lémure
larvae in Italian: Lèmures
larvae in Lithuanian: Larvai
larvae in Dutch: Lemures
larvae in Norwegian: Lemurer (gjenferd)
larvae in Polish: Lémur
larvae in Russian: Лярва
larvae in Swedish: Larvae
larvae in Ukrainian: Лемури (міфологія)
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