ladybird

ladybird beetle

[ley-dee-burd]
noun
Also called ladybird.


Origin:
1730–40, Americanism; lady (uninflected possessive case) Virgin Mary + bird; i.e. (our) Lady's bird

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ladybug

[ley-dee-buhg]
noun
any of numerous small, round, often brightly colored and spotted beetles of the family Coccinellidae, feeding chiefly on aphids and other small insects, but including several forms that feed on plants.
Also called ladybeetle, lady beetle, ladybird beetle, ladybird.


Origin:
1690–1700; lady + bug1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ladybird (ˈleɪdɪˌbɜːd)
 
n
Usual US and Canadian name: ladybug any of various small brightly coloured beetles of the family Coccinellidae, such as Adalia bipunctata (two-spotted ladybird), which has red elytra marked with black spots
 
[C18: named after Our Lady, the Virgin Mary]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ladybug
1690s, from lady + bug. The "lady" is the Virgin Mary (cf. Ger. cognate Marienkäfer). In Britain, now usually ladybird beetle (1704), through aversion to the word bug, which there has overtones of sodomy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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