deathwatch beetle


: any of various small beetles (family Anobiidae, especially Xestobium rufovillosum) that bore in seasoned or dead wood (as of old buildings) and make a tapping noise as a mating call

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Termites also bored through decks and masts and cabin doors, as did deathwatch beetles. David Grann, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deathwatch beetle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deathwatch beetle was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near deathwatch beetle

Cite this Entry

“Deathwatch beetle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

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