Where Does Butterfly Get Its Name From?
No one knows for sure how the butterfly got its name, since the word has been in the English language for centuries. The word was “buterfleoge” in Old English, which means “butterfly” in our English today.
Because it is such an old word, we don’t really know who or when someone said “That ‘thing’ over there is a ‘butterfly’.” But there are many popular ideas.
One is that the butterfly’s name came from “flutter-by,” so-called because of its fluttering flight. Some people believe that the insect is so named because many butterflies have the color of butter.
Yet another idea is that the name evolved from an old belief that butterflies, or witches that took on the shape of butterflies, stole milk and butter.
The scientific name for the butterfly family is “Lepidoptera”. This name comes from Greek words meaning “scaly wings”. The wings of butterflies are covered with dust-like scales.