Dictionary

1beetle

noun bee·tle \ˈbē-təl\

Definition of BEETLE

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
:  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

drone, entomology, gadfly, pismire, proboscis, vespine

Rhymes with BEETLE

2beetle

verb
bee·tledbee·tling \ˈbē-təl-iŋ\

Definition of BEETLE

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

First Known Use of BEETLE

circa 1919

3beetle

noun

Definition of BEETLE

1
:  a heavy wooden hammering or ramming instrument
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

4beetle

adjective

Definition of BEETLE

:  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

5beetle

verb
bee·tledbee·tling \ˈbē-təl-iŋ\

Definition of BEETLE

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

First Known Use of BEETLE

1602
BEETLED Defined for Kids

beetle

noun bee·tle \ˈbē-təl\

Definition of BEETLE for Kids

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
:  an insect that looks like a beetle

Word History of 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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