Pronounced: MEH-tuh, adj
Notes: The vocabulary reference I took this from says it is pronounced “MEE-tuh”; however, this particular reference seems to be riddled with errors; I’ve always heard it pronounced “MEH-tuh”. In addition, no web site I checked has it as “MEE-tuh”, so I think this is just another error.
The word imago means
- the final or adult stage of an insect
- an idealized image of someone, formed in childhood and persisting in later life
This word came into English in the late 1700s
Background / Comments
I learned the stages of insect life as egg-larva-pupa-adult. Apparently, our word is starting to be used instead of “adult”. When I was checking the insect life stages to make sure I spelled them properly, I ran across one web site that used our word in place of “adult”. It is clear that the second definition has grown out of the first. My data doesn’t say, but I suspect it is a later definition. Anyway, our word comes from the Latin word imago (image).