Definition of cockroach in US English:



  • A beetlelike insect with long antennae and legs, feeding by scavenging. Several tropical species have become established worldwide as pests in homes and food service establishments.

    Suborder Blattodea, order Dictyoptera: many genera and species, including the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana); some, especially in the genus Ectobius, are small temperate species that live outdoors

    • ‘Houseflies, mosquitoes and cockroaches are identified as the most common domestic insect pests.’
    • ‘Vermin, mostly rodents and cockroaches, climbed out of the flooded gutters to seek refuge inside houses.’
    • ‘Removing the space prevents cockroaches and other pests from residing in the dark corners.’
    • ‘The ants and the cockroaches have also begun to return; no longer is it safe to leave the cat food out on the back step.’
    • ‘For example, if you put your hand in front of a cockroach, the insect will immediately turn and run in the opposite direction.’


Early 17th century (as cacaroch): from Spanish cucaracha. The spelling change was due to association with cock and roach.