Definition of locust in English:



  • 1A large, mainly tropical grasshopper with strong powers of flight. It is usually solitary, but from time to time there is a population explosion and it migrates in vast swarms which cause extensive damage to vegetation.

    Several species in the family Acrididae, including the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria)

    • ‘The biopesticide is not toxic to humans and kills only locusts and grasshoppers and a very limited number of other insects; it has no other environmental side-effects.’
    • ‘He was a wild sort of man who lived in the desert and ate locusts and wild honey.’
    • ‘Although locusts and grasshoppers are identical in appearance, they differ in their behavior.’
    • ‘In Mauritania, adult locusts have been forming swarms in parts of the north and northwest where vegetation is drying out, and some of these swarms have been seen moving northwards towards Morocco.’
    • ‘It is used routinely in Brazil to control spittlebugs on alfalfa or sugarcane, and one variety is now being applied widely in Africa against locusts and grasshoppers.’
    • ‘Hot, dry weather across the region has created the ideal breeding grounds for the plague that, until now, has mostly advanced - like the locust's grasshopper cousin - by hopping and walking.’
    • ‘Under laboratory conditions, flying insects such as fruit flies and migratory locusts have powered stationary engines with their beating wings.’
    • ‘They watched with mounting concern as swarms of locusts began to sweep southwards from breeding grounds in North Africa.’
    • ‘Phase change causes the locusts to swarm over vegetation, behavior that has wreaked havoc on crops in Africa and the Middle East for centuries.’
    • ‘Song's work suggested that the desert locust colonized Africa from North America.’
    • ‘The fungus is deadly to locusts and grasshoppers but has proven harmless to other insects, plants, and animals - including people.’
    • ‘Insects such as the red locust, crickets, grasshoppers, and flying ants are collected in season and either fried with salt to make popular snacks or dried for later use.’
    • ‘Vast swarms of locusts have swept over South Sulawesi in the past few days, destroying rice and secondary crops.’
    • ‘Members of the grasshopper family, including crickets, locusts, and katydids, hear with small disks near one of the front leg joints.’
    • ‘Many researchers have thought that Mormon crickets - and possibly grasshoppers - behave like their cousins, migratory locusts.’
    • ‘Swarms of locusts damaged crops and pastures across the state during the autumn.’
    • ‘A swarm of desert locusts may consist of up to 50 billion individuals.’
    • ‘He lived in the wilderness, wore clothes made of camel hair, and ate locusts and wild honey.’
    • ‘If they are allowed to survive for more than three weeks, these hoppers will grow wings and a new swarm of locusts will take to the skies in search of new vegetation to destroy.’
    • ‘When you get back, you can eat wild locusts and honey and manna from heaven.’
    1. 1.1US The periodical cicada.
      • ‘We get confused because both cicadas and locust emerge periodically.’
      • ‘These are known as periodical cicadas but are also commonly called 17-year cicadas, 13-year cicadas, or locusts.’
  • 2The large edible pod of some plants of the pea family, in particular the carob bean, which is said to resemble a locust.

    • ‘Other packets of Jellyace Buko Bandan labelled as containing locust bean gum are safe.’
    • ‘I learn that one ice cream ingredient, locust bean gum, was used in ancient Egypt to seal the wrappings on mummies.’
    • ‘In cream cheese, xanthan gum interacts synergistically with guar and locust bean gum, notes Sebree.’
    • ‘Others, like gum guar (obtained from the cluster bean), or locust bean gum (from the locust bean), come from seedpods.’
  • 3A carob tree, false acacia, or similar pod-bearing tree of the pea family.

    • ‘The field is twenty acres, sloping gradually upward to the scrub locust trees along the fence line.’
    • ‘Judging by the large thorns, they were honey locust trees.’
    • ‘The locust trees are also broadly similar to the carob.’
    • ‘A favorite stroll in Riverside Park takes me past a row of honey locust trees.’
    • ‘For shade around the periphery, she planted a locust, a pepper tree, and ‘Swan Hill’ olive trees.’
    • ‘Shipman proposed increasing the number of locust trees that surrounded the house, further ensconcing it in a natural setting.’
    • ‘Beyond this is an open-air courtyard with a waterfall and locust trees lit up in the dark.’
    • ‘The remaining assemblage included red oak, ash, a small amount of cottonwood/willow, and locust.’
    • ‘Except for the existing locust tree, the two sides of the yard are symmetrical.’
    • ‘Kaya and I were taking a walk to the pond this morning when along the roadside I noticed a locust tree that still had some long felty pods hanging from it.’
    • ‘We look up at the sky through a fringe of leaves belonging to a locust tree or a mimosa, the rows of lacy leaves forming a mantilla overhead.’
    • ‘My five new locust trees are too tender to bear his weight just yet.’
    • ‘Secondary contributions were made by common bluff-base or crest trees, including elm, locust, and ash.’
    • ‘Why do they and honey locusts have sugary pods so attractive to livestock?’
    • ‘Several wood species are listed, including cedar, redwood and locust.’
    • ‘My own tale began when I decided to do something about the four locust trees that were growing at disorderly angles in my backyard, blotting out both the sun and my chances of becoming a stop on the local garden tour.’


Middle English: via Old French locuste from Latin locusta ‘locust, crustacean’.