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1

beetle

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noun bee·tle \ˈbē-təl\

Definition of beetle

  1. 1 :  any of an order (Coleoptera) of insects having four wings of which the outer pair are modified into stiff elytra that protect the inner pair when at rest

  2. 2 :  any of various insects resembling a beetle



Origin of beetle

Middle English betylle, from Old English bitula; akin to bītan to bite


First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Insect Terms

Rhymes with beetle


2

beetle

verb bee·tle

Definition of beetle

bee·tledbee·tling play \ˈbē-təl-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to scurry like a beetle <editors beetled around the office>



Circa 1919

First Known Use of beetle

circa 1919


3

beetle

noun bee·tle

Definition of beetle

  1. 1 :  a heavy wooden hammering or ramming instrument

  2. 2 :  a wooden pestle or bat for domestic tasks



Origin of beetle

Middle English betel, from Old English bīetel; akin to Old English bēatan to beat


First Known Use: before 12th century


4

beetle

adjective bee·tle

Definition of beetle

  1. :  being prominent and overhanging <beetle brows>



Origin of beetle

Middle English bitel-browed having overhanging brows, probably from betylle, bitel beetle


First Known Use: 14th century


5

beetle

verb bee·tle

Definition of beetle

bee·tledbee·tling play \ˈbē-təl-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  project, jut <to scale the beetling crags — R. L. Stevenson>



1602

First Known Use of beetle

1602


BEETLE Defined for Kids

beetle

play
noun bee·tle \ˈbē-təl\

Definition of beetle

  1. 1 :  any of a group of insects with four wings the outer pair of which are stiff cases that cover the others when folded

  2. 2 :  an insect that looks like a beetle



History for beetle

Beetles are not usually stinging insects, at least in the cooler climates of North America and Europe, but Old English bitela, the ancestor of our modern word beetle, means literally “biter.” Actually, the speakers of Old English seem to have applied bitela to several not very beetle-like insects, such as cockroaches, which snack on our belongings—so the biting in question may be eating rather than defense. A related Old English word for an insect that has not survived into modern English is hrædbita literally “quick-biter.”



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