order of insects with four scaly wings, 1773, the biological classification that includes butterflies and moths, coined 1735 in Modern Latin by Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linné, 1707-1778) from lepido- "scale" + pteron "wing, feather" (from PIE root *pet- "to rush, to fly"). Related: Lepidopteral; lepidopteran; lepidopterous.
word-forming element meaning "one who does or makes," also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista (source also of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian -ista), from Greek agent-noun ending -istes, which is from -is-, ending of the stem of verbs in -izein, + agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (as in chorister, barrister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish, popularized in American English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.
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Definitions of lepidopterist
an entomologist who specializes in the collection and study of butterflies and moths;