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.

    • ‘Adult beetles hide in soil during the day and fly to trees to feed at night.’
    • ‘Mark's passion for peculiar pets started when he collected caterpillars, beetles and scorpions as a child.’
    • ‘The hard sheath over the beetle's wings has a waxy surface dotted with tiny nonwaxy bumps.’
    • ‘Over 1,000 species of beetle and spider have been found, many of which are dependent on the trees for their survival.’
    • ‘Only a few insects feed on lichens - some moths and beetles among them.’
    • ‘I see cucumber beetles in the garden all summer long.’
    • ‘A variety of insects, including some beetles and moths, mimic bees and wasps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ants, beetles, and termites turn over soil and wood.’
    • ‘This beetle's black antennae are nearly as long as its body.’
    • ‘They can easily slice right though a beetle's hard armour.’
    • ‘In ancient Egypt they worshipped all kinds of creatures even insects and bugs like a scarab beetle.’
    • ‘It turns out that only some male horned scarab beetles grow long horns and battle for mates.’
    • ‘Rare forms of beetle and fly have been known to live there, and it offers a breeding ground for otters.’
    • ‘The beetles' backs are covered with bumps - under a microscope, they resemble a landscape of peaks and valleys.’
    • ‘Green June beetles also emerge in July and they also feed on ripe fruit.’
    • ‘Insects, especially beetles and ants, are the main food of Downy Woodpeckers.’
    • ‘He takes out a glass case containing the beautiful beetle, with a golden shell, black spots, and antennae, just as he had originally said.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Oh, I pop down in the car frequently enough, park by the Spardis, grab some provisions and beetle off back home.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1 A 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. 1.1 Finish (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]usually as adjective beetling
  • (of a person's eyebrows) project or overhang threateningly.

    ‘piercing eyes glittered beneath a great beetling brow’
    • ‘Where the beetling cliff falls sheerly to the seething sea beneath,’
    • ‘His eyebrows beetled, and he slipped into a deep sleep, with the music of Total Package playing in his ears.’
    • ‘With his massive build, black beetling eyebrows and perma-frown he resembles a pantomime baddie.’
    • ‘He glared forbiddingly, his eyebrows beetling together like two fuzzy caterpillars were mating on his forehead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The examiner was a Dr Bull, an elderly anatomy lecturer of rather Victorian appearance, with mutton chop whiskers and beetling eyebrows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alan proceeded to get up from the table without a word and stalk off, his shoulders hunched and his brow beetled.’
    • ‘From this distance, about a hundred meters, he could make out beetled brows, and kerchiefs around noses and mouths.’
    • ‘her husband demands, the famously intimidating brows beetling like two grizzled insects as he proceeds to fiddle with a radiator.’
    • ‘His eyes brightened when he saw Krys's face, his brows beetling when he noticed her worried look.’
    • ‘And then he began pounding on the table like Kruschev, his eyebrows beetling furiously.’
    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 furrows his beetle brows and fixes his stare on the turf in front, indifferent to the periphery.’
    • ‘Beneath the beetle brow and the thinning combover, however, lurked a singular songwriting talent.’
    • ‘He turned towards her; his eyes flashing under his beetling eyebrows.’

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/