butterfly


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Related to butterfly: butterfly effect, butterfly stroke, Butterfly swimming

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

A rhetorical question referring to an excessive amount of force that has been applied to achieve something minor, unimportant, or insignificant. The line is a quotation from Alexander Pope's poem "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot." To "break upon a wheel" refers to a mode of torture, in which a victim has their bones broken while strapped to a large wheel. The government's use of drone strikes and artillery bombing on the town to wipe out a tiny faction of rebels is totally unjustifiable—who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
See also: break, butterfly, upon, who

break a butterfly on a wheel

To apply an excessive amount of force to achieve something minor, unimportant, or insignificant. The phrase appears in the rhetorical question, "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" The line is a quotation from Alexander Pope's poem "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot." To "break upon a wheel" refers to a mode of torture, in which a victim has their bones broken while strapped to a large wheel. The government's use of drone strikes and artillery bombing on the town to wipe out a tiny faction of rebels is totally unjustifiable—who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
See also: break, butterfly, on, wheel

butterflies in (one's) stomach

A feeling of nervousness. The butterflies in my stomach almost kept me from going on stage and performing.
See also: butterfly, stomach

have butterflies in (one's) stomach

A feeling of nervousness. I almost didn't go on stage and perform tonight because I had butterflies in my stomach.
See also: butterfly, have, stomach

*butterflies in one's stomach

a nervous feeling in one's stomach. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone~.) Whenever I have to speak in public, I get butterflies in my stomach. She always has butterflies in her stomach before a test. It was not frightening enough to give me butterflies in my stomach, but it made me a little apprehensive.
See also: butterfly, stomach

*gaudy as a butterfly

fancy; colorful. (*Also: as ~.) Marie looked as gaudy as a butterfly in her new dress. Michael's scarf is gaudy as a butterfly.
See also: butterfly

butterflies in one's stomach

Fluttering sensations caused by a feeling of nervous anticipation. For example, I always get butterflies in my stomach before making a speech. This term likens a nervous feeling to that resulting from swallowing live butterflies that fly about inside one. [c. 1900]
See also: butterfly, stomach

butterflies in your stomach

If you have butterflies in your stomach, you feel very nervous about something that you have to do. He seemed so full of enthusiasm that I felt foolish still having butterflies in my stomach. Now I can go there as a competitor, I'm starting to feel the butterflies in my stomach already. Note: Butterflies is also used in many other structures and expressions with a similar meaning. Any jockey who says he doesn't get butterflies down at the start is telling lies. Carol felt butterflies tumbling in her guts.
See also: butterfly, stomach

be breaking a butterfly on a wheel

BRITISH, LITERARY
If you say that someone is breaking a butterfly on a wheel, you mean that they are using far more force than is necessary to do something. The Huglets have had their ideology combed over, examined, misinterpreted and rewritten. Talk about breaking a butterfly on a wheel. Note: This is a quotation from `Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot' (1735) by Alexander Pope. In the past, the wheel was an instrument of torture. A person was tied to it and then their arms and legs were broken or they were beaten to death. Compare with a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
See also: breaking, butterfly, on, wheel

break a butterfly on a wheel

use unnecessary force in destroying something fragile or insignificant.
In former times, breaking someone upon the wheel was a form of punishment or torture which involved fastening criminals to a wheel so that their bones would be broken or dislocated.
1998 Times But why break a butterfly upon a wheel? What harm does the Liberal Democrat leader do? Unfortunately he may be about to do a great deal.
See also: break, butterfly, on, wheel

the butterfly effect

the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.
The expression comes from chaos theory. In 1979 , Edward N. Lorenz gave a paper to the American Association for the Advancement of Science entitled ‘Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?’
See also: butterfly, effect

have butterflies in your stomach

have a queasy feeling because you are nervous. informal
See also: butterfly, have, stomach

get/have ˈbutterflies (in your stomach)

(informal) get/have a nervous feeling in your stomach before doing something: I always get butterflies (in my stomach) before an interview.
See also: butterfly, get, have

social butterfly

A person who flits from event to event without a care in the world. This derogatory phrase is usually but not always applied to women who “live to party.” Going from one dinner party or ball or benefit to another, they are preoccupied with being the height of fashion and popularity. According to one wonderfully descriptive characterization, a social butterfly has a “brow unfurrowed by care or thought."
See also: butterfly, social
References in periodicals archive ?
Use the ideas as inspiration for your own butterfly garden.
As a rule, the size of the butterfly dictates its feeding preferences; small butterflies feed on small flowers and larger ones on nectar from more sizeable blooms.
Take for instance the Schaus butterfly of the Florida Keys.
Hundreds of butterflies, including 30 native species, emerge in a puparium, then fly in a 1,500-square-foot butterfly house.
Leave everything as you found it, so others can enjoy their butterfly hikes, too.
If the other shareholders receive their dividends during the same series of transactions as the non-residential shareholder, then the proposed amendment will preclude them from using the butterfly exemption.
3 million Day Butterfly Center sits on a 4 1/2-acre section, 1 1/2 acres of which are devoted to outdoor gardens used to teach visitors how to plant butterfly gardens in their own backyards.
We are so fortunate to be on the Monarch Butterfly flyway," says Maeckle, adding that San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country's many streams and rivers are "perfect nectar stations for Monarchs.
Butterfly is the official table sponsor for the 2015 Butterfly Canadian Championships.
Second, Butterfly is driving a resurgence in club dancing, often sitting in as a tap-percussive member of the band in what were once music-only clubs.
Disease is the most serious threat," says Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).
That's where we got all our nsazzy seasonal stuff: butterfly lamp, $30; flower alarm clock, $40; wrinkle shade lamp, $35; floral-print pictures, $25; insect string lights, $25; butterfly pillow, $18; vintage patch full comforter, $55, sheet set, $35, and pillow shams, $17 each; solid pink bed ruffle, $25.
A butterfly starts out as an egg that is only about as big as the head of a pin.
And the first step is to read The Family Butterfly Book by Rick Mikula, popularly known as "the Grandfather of Butterfly Farming.