beetle

1 [beet-l]
noun
1.
any of numerous insects of the order Coleoptera, characterized by hard, horny forewings that cover and protect the membranous flight wings.
2.
(loosely) any of various insects resembling the beetle, as a cockroach.
verb (used without object), beetled, beetling.
3.
Chiefly British. to move quickly; scurry: He beetled off to catch the train.

Origin:
before 900; late Middle English betylle, bityl, Old English bitela (bitel- biting (bit- bite + -el adj. suffix) + -a noun suffix)

Dictionary.com Unabridged

beetle

2 [beet-l]
noun
1.
a heavy hammering or ramming instrument, usually of wood, used to drive wedges, force down paving stones, compress loose earth, etc.
2.
any of various wooden instruments for beating linen, mashing potatoes, etc.
verb (used with object), beetled, beetling.
3.
to use a beetle on; drive, ram, beat, or crush with a beetle.
4.
to finish (cloth) with a beetling machine.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English betel, Old English bētl, bȳtel hammer (cognate with Middle Low German bētel chisel), equivalent to bē(a)t- beat + -il noun suffix

beetler, noun

beetle

3 [beet-l]
adjective
1.
projecting; overhanging: beetle brows.
verb (used without object), beetled, beetling.
2.
to project; jut out; overhang: a cliff that beetles over the sea.
3.
to hang or tower over in a threatening or menacing manner: The prospect of bankruptcy beetled over him.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English; back formation from beetle-browed

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To beetle
Collins
World English Dictionary
beetle1 (ˈbiːtəl)
 
n
1.  any insect of the order Coleoptera, having biting mouthparts and forewings modified to form shell-like protective elytraRelated: coleopteran
2.  a game played with dice in which the players draw or assemble a beetle-shaped form
 
vb
3.  informal to scuttle or scurry; hurry
 
Related: coleopteran
 
[Old English bitela; related to bitol teeth, bit, bītan to bite]

beetle2 (ˈbiːtəl)
 
n
1.  a heavy hand tool, usually made of wood, used for ramming, pounding, or beating
2.  a machine used to finish cloth by stamping it with wooden hammers
 
vb
3.  to beat or pound with a beetle
4.  to finish (cloth) by means of a beetle
 
[Old English bīetel, from bēatan to beat; related to Middle Low German bētel chisel, Old Norse beytill penis]

beetle3 (ˈbiːtəl)
 
vb
1.  (intr) to overhang; jut
 
adj
2.  overhanging; prominent
 
[C14: perhaps related to beetle1]
 
'beetling3
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

beetle
"insect," O.E. bitela, lit. "little biter," from bitel "biting," related to bitan "to bite" (see bite). As a nickname for the original Volkswagen car, 1946, translating Ger. Käfer.

beetle
"project, overhang," originally in bitelbrouwed (mid-14c.), from bitel "sharp-edged, sharp;" probably from O.E. bitela (see beetle (n.)) + brow, which in M.E. meant "eyebrow," not "forehead." It referred to shaggy eyebrows, perhaps because they
suggested insect antennae. Meaning "to overhang dangerously" (of cliffs, etc.) is from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Easton
Bible Dictionary

Beetle definition


(Heb. hargol, meaning "leaper"). Mention of it is made only in Lev. 11:22, where it is obvious the word cannot mean properly the beetle. It denotes some winged creeper with at least four feet, "which has legs above its feet, to leap withal." The description plainly points to the locust (q.v.). This has been an article of food from the earliest times in the East to the present day. The word is rendered "cricket" in the Revised Version.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

beetle

any member of the insect order Coleoptera, consisting of the beetles and weevils. It is the largest order of insects, representing about 40 percent of the known insect species. Among the over 350,000 species of Coleoptera are many of the largest and most conspicuous insects, some of which also have brilliant metallic colours, showy patterns, or striking form. Beetles can usually be recognized by their two pairs of wings; the front pair is modified into horny covers (elytra) that hide the rear pair and most of the abdomen and usually meet down the back in a straight line. Coleoptera occur in nearly all climates. They may be divided into four groups: the first three, the Archostemata, the Adephaga, and the Myxophaga, contain relatively few families; the majority of beetles are placed in the fourth group, the Polyphaga.

Learn more about beetle with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
As long as a weaver's beam was each of her two shins, and they were as dark as the back of a stag-beetle.
Obviously it doesn't matter that much if you're a beetle, that you be really
  smart.
These spiral generators scavenge power when the beetle beats its wings.
Beetle larva lures and kills frogs, while the adult hunts and paralyses.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature