Main definitions of beetle in English

: beetle1beetle2beetle3

beetle1

noun

  • An insect of an order distinguished by forewings typically modified into hard wing cases (elytra) that cover and protect the hind wings and abdomen.

    • ‘Insects, especially beetles and ants, are the main food of Downy Woodpeckers.’
    • ‘In ancient Egypt they worshipped all kinds of creatures even insects and bugs like a scarab beetle.’
    • ‘Only a few insects feed on lichens - some moths and beetles among them.’
    • ‘This beetle's black antennae are nearly as long as its body.’
    • ‘The beetles' backs are covered with bumps - under a microscope, they resemble a landscape of peaks and valleys.’
    • ‘Although most of the beetles were dead, a number were still quite active and one beetle climbed onto a film vial in the pan and took flight.’
    • ‘Over 1,000 species of beetle and spider have been found, many of which are dependent on the trees for their survival.’
    • ‘Mark's passion for peculiar pets started when he collected caterpillars, beetles and scorpions as a child.’
    • ‘Green June beetles also emerge in July and they also feed on ripe fruit.’
    • ‘They can easily slice right though a beetle's hard armour.’
    • ‘Adult beetles hide in soil during the day and fly to trees to feed at night.’
    • ‘This tiny black female beetle, the size of a poppy seed, is already spreading in the Great Smoky Mountains.’
    • ‘Among all the insects only beetles have these specialized fore-wings.’
    • ‘A variety of insects, including some beetles and moths, mimic bees and wasps.’
    • ‘I see cucumber beetles in the garden all summer long.’
    • ‘Rare forms of beetle and fly have been known to live there, and it offers a breeding ground for otters.’
    • ‘The hard sheath over the beetle's wings has a waxy surface dotted with tiny nonwaxy bumps.’
    • ‘Ants, beetles, and termites turn over soil and wood.’
    • ‘He takes out a glass case containing the beautiful beetle, with a golden shell, black spots, and antennae, just as he had originally said.’
    • ‘It turns out that only some male horned scarab beetles grow long horns and battle for mates.’
    winged insect
    coleopteran
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verb

[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Make one's way hurriedly or with short, quick steps.

    ‘the tourist beetled off’
    • ‘Today being a working day, a couple of utility trucks came beetling down the lane to meet and pass me, driven by a drowsy farm-worker off to start work.’
    • ‘Between us, we put everything away, the Engineer and his missus beetled off amid cheery cries of ‘No problem’, and I staggered off, cat securely clutched in arms, in search of gin.’
    • ‘And off he beetled to the back room he set up a couple of days ago, with a clean workbench and a worklight just right for the assembly of electronic components.’
    • ‘Among the panelled walls, stained glass skylights and beetling, tuxedoed waiters you will see tributes to famous literary and political regulars.’
    • ‘And, besides, it gave Graham a place to hide while I beetled over to the display of windchimes and began to put them through their paces.’
    • ‘Oh, I pop down in the car frequently enough, park by the Spardis, grab some provisions and beetle off back home.’
    scurry, scamper, scuttle, bustle, hurry, hasten, rush, race, dash
    scoot, tear, pelt, zip, belt
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Origin

Old English bitula, bitela biter from the base of bītan to bite.

Pronunciation:

beetle

/ˈbēdl/

Main definitions of beetle in English

: beetle1beetle2beetle3

beetle2

noun

  • 1A tool with a heavy head and a handle, used for tasks such as ramming, crushing, and driving wedges; a maul.

    • ‘Champ was prepared especially for the festival of Hallowe'en when large quantities of potatoes were pounded with a cylindrical wooden implement called a beetle.’
    1. 1.1A machine used for heightening the luster of cloth by pressure from rollers.
      • ‘It worked perfectly - intensity of light was controlled by pressure on the beetle!’
      • ‘Depending on the beetle pressure in a stand and individual susceptibility of baited trees, attacks may range from unsuccessful or no attack, to successfully mass attacked.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Ram, crush, or drive with a beetle.

    1. 1.1Finish (cloth) with a beetle.
      • ‘From sowing to pulling, retting to rippling, spinning to weaving, beetling to bleaching, a long, exhausting and sometimes dangerous business made a cloth so precious it was put under armed guard and cost thieves their lives.’

Origin

Old English bētel, of Germanic origin; related to beat.

Pronunciation:

beetle

/ˈbēdl/

Main definitions of beetle in English

: beetle1beetle2beetle3

beetle3

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of a person's eyebrows) project or overhang threateningly.

    ‘piercing eyes glittered beneath a great beetling brow’
    • ‘The examiner was a Dr Bull, an elderly anatomy lecturer of rather Victorian appearance, with mutton chop whiskers and beetling eyebrows.’
    • ‘Where the beetling cliff falls sheerly to the seething sea beneath,’
    • ‘With his massive build, black beetling eyebrows and perma-frown he resembles a pantomime baddie.’
    • ‘Alan proceeded to get up from the table without a word and stalk off, his shoulders hunched and his brow beetled.’
    • ‘His eyes brightened when he saw Krys's face, his brows beetling when he noticed her worried look.’
    • ‘His eyebrows beetled, and he slipped into a deep sleep, with the music of Total Package playing in his ears.’
    • ‘Encouraged by the romantic writers of the nineteenth century, we too find in the life of castle, cathedral, and beetling hilltop towns a poetic refuge from an industrialized world.’
    • ‘her husband demands, the famously intimidating brows beetling like two grizzled insects as he proceeds to fiddle with a radiator.’
    • ‘From this distance, about a hundred meters, he could make out beetled brows, and kerchiefs around noses and mouths.’
    • ‘I only got an impression of mass and darkness and a searing glare from under beetled brows, and then he had disappeared into the crowd.’
    • ‘He glared forbiddingly, his eyebrows beetling together like two fuzzy caterpillars were mating on his forehead.’
    • ‘And then he began pounding on the table like Kruschev, his eyebrows beetling furiously.’
    • ‘The walk up the ramp from Waverley Station reveals on the left the beetling houses and gothic towers of the Old Town, clinging to the sides of the Castle rock.’
    projecting, protruding, prominent, overhanging, sticking out, jutting out, standing out, bulging, bulbous, pendent
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adjective

  • [attributive] (of a person's eyebrows) shaggy and projecting.

    • ‘He turned towards her; his eyes flashing under his beetling eyebrows.’
    • ‘Beneath the beetle brow and the thinning combover, however, lurked a singular songwriting talent.’
    • ‘He furrows his beetle brows and fixes his stare on the turf in front, indifferent to the periphery.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (as an adjective): back-formation from beetle-browed. The verb was apparently used as a nonce word by Shakespeare and was later adopted by other writers.

Pronunciation:

beetle

/ˈbēdl/