assassin bug


: any of a family (Reduviidae) of bugs that are usually predatory on insects though some (such as a kissing bug) suck the blood of mammals

called also reduviid

Illustration of assassin bug

Illustration of assassin bug

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Robert Jackson and Simon Pollard from the University of Canterbury have been studying a pretender with a much more gruesome disguise – the ant-snatching assassin bug Acanthaspis petax, which covers itself with the corpses of its own prey. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 4 Oct. 2010 Exploitation of environmental noise by an araneophagic assassin bug. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 5 Feb. 2012 Witness an assassin bug luring a spider to its doom with bad vibes. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Dec. 2010 The assassin bug sucks up the soupy tissue and attaches the corpse to its back like a creepy backpack. Holly Barker, Discover Magazine, 7 Oct. 2022 The package comes with a cicada, a cockroach, a Japanese beetle, a water scorpion and an assassin bug for your amateur entomologists. Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 Known as an assassin bug, Sycanus uses its mouthpart to stab its insect prey, including the fire caterpillar, one of the most important pests of oil palm trees. Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Science | AAAS, 11 July 2019 Indiana has its fair share of scary pests, ranging from wasps, assassin bugs and stink bugs to more harmful critters, such as poisonous spiders. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, 10 Oct. 2018 The bedroom reeks pleasantly of timbers, mildew, brick; the kitchen at night races with mice and assassin bugs; and in the pasture the cows moan and ruminate and gather under the shade of the trees to escape the withering sun. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, 24 June 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assassin bug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of assassin bug was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near assassin bug

Cite this Entry

“Assassin bug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition

assassin bug

as·​sas·​sin bug ə-ˈsas-ᵊn- How to pronounce assassin bug (audio)
: any bug of the family Reduviidae compare conenose

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