wood louse


: a terrestrial isopod crustacean (suborder Oniscoidea) with a flattened elliptical body often capable of being rolled into a ball

called also pill bug, sow bug

Examples of wood louse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bunky would probably have loved to eat a wood louse. Anne Fadiman, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Feb. 2023 Widder thinks the fish were searching for giant isopods—ocean crustaceans that look something like a massive terrestrial wood louse (more commonly known as pillbugs or rolly pollies). Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, 5 Aug. 2010 In the case of one particular 429-million-year-old trilobite—an extinct arthropod that looked like a big version of a wood louse—a crack in just the right place has allowed paleontologists to see the world through the creature’s eyes. Riley Black, Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wood louse.' 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

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wood louse was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near wood louse

Cite this Entry

“Wood louse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wood%20louse. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

wood louse

: a small flat grayish crustacean that is an isopod, lives in damp places (as under stones, fallen leaves, and rotting logs), and is often capable of rolling its body into a ball

called also pill bug, sow bug

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