Definition of scarab in English:



  • 1A large dung beetle of the eastern Mediterranean area, regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt.

    • ‘The wife of King Albert, Queen Paola, commissioned Fabre, who used the jewel-like shells of scarabs culled from the Far East.’
    • ‘The scarabs appeared to have left the area, but there was no telling when they would return.’
    • ‘For the moment, the scarabs were lost from sight.’
    • ‘Khepri was the sacred scarab, whom the Egyptians believed was associated with the power of renewal, rebirth and resurrection.’
    • ‘But the scarab also holds deep personal significance for me.’
    1. 1.1 An ancient Egyptian gem cut in the form of a scarab beetle, sometimes depicted with the wings spread, and engraved with hieroglyphs on the flat underside.
      • ‘The ladybirds are suburban scarabs - there is something jewel-like about them, like tiny ladybird cufflinks set with emeralds and diamonds, or enamels, etched with intricate engravings.’
      • ‘Gently, he turned over the scarab to reveal miniscule hieroglyphics on the back.’
      • ‘You can get an ancient oil lamp for about $75 or so, or a multitude of Egyptian scarabs and Roman Fibulae for even less, or coins of the ancient world from $20 and up.’
      • ‘He picked it up, seeing it was a golden scarab.’
      • ‘This is borne out by scarabs dating from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, which suggest that he was still worshipped some 2,000 years after his death.’
      • ‘Castellani also incorporated cameos, scarabs, and enamel into pieces of jewelry as had been done in ancient times.’
      • ‘For he that carries this scarab is the guard of many a sacred and coveted secrets.’
      • ‘Each merchant's tales of how the scarabs came from the tomb of Tutankhamun grew less and less likely with every member of the caravan.’
      • ‘The most common Egyptian amulet was the scarab, made in the form of a sacred beetle, and this design continued to be used in early Greek and Etruscan work.’
      • ‘They included an Egyptian scarab whose hieroglyphics told how Amen Hotep III of the 18th dynasty shot 102 fierce lions with his own bow.’
      • ‘It was some sort of ancient Idol, and I found a necklace with a scarab in it.’
      • ‘In 1995, thieves burrowed through the wall of a storeroom used to house artefacts at the Temple of Montu in Karnak, and looted some 55 scarabs and statues.’
    2. 1.2 Any scarabaeid beetle.


Late 16th century (originally denoting a beetle of any kind): from Latin scarabaeus, from Greek skarabeios.