[pap-uh-lon; French pa-pee-yawn] /ˈpæp əˌlɒn; French pa piˈyɔ̃/

noun, plural papillons
[-lonz; French pa-pee-yawn] /-ˌlɒnz; French pa piˈyɔ̃/ (Show IPA)
one of a breed of toy spaniels having a long, silky coat and large, erect ears held so that they resemble the wings of a butterfly.
a breed of toy spaniel with large ears

1907, as a breed of dog, from French papillon, literally “butterfly,” from Latin papilionem (nominative papilio) “butterfly,” perhaps from a reduplicated form of PIE root *pal- “to touch, feel, shake.”

The Latin word is cognate with Old English fifealde “butterfly,” Old Saxon fifoldara, Old Norse fifrildi, Old High German vivaltra, German Falter. The dog so called for the shape of the ears.


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