What is the definition of Chrysalids as in the title of Wyndham's novel, The Chrysalids?
— n , pl chrysalises , chrysalides
1. the obtect pupa of a moth or butterfly
2. anything in the process of developing
[from Latin chrysallis, from Greek khrusallis, from khrusos meaning gold, of Semitic origin; compare Hebrew harūz gold]
(Collins English Dictionary)
"Chrysalids," as in Wyndham's title, is a variation on the spelling of the plural form of the scientific word chrysalis. The correct spelling is, as above, chrysalides. A chrysalis is the hard-shelled pupa, or obtect pupa, of either a butterfly or a moth. A pupa is a life stage of metamorphosis for some insect, like the butterfly and moth. A metamorphosis is a radical change from one form to another seemingly wholly unrelated form; it is the change from a worm-like caterpillar to a winged beauty, a butterfly or a moth.
insect development in which egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages occur, each differing greatly in morphology.
(Random House Dictionary)
Wyndham's novel, The Chrysalids, symbolizes (1) the complete metamorphosis society was forced to make after the cataclysmic catastrophe that destroyed life as it had been known and (2) the new complete metamorphosis that society was on the brink of making whereby a mutation favoring telepathy becomes the new sensory morphology of humankind.