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"black dung beetle," held sacred by the ancient Egyptians, 1570s, from Middle French scarabeé, from Latin scarabaeus, name of a type of beetle, from Greek karabos "beetle, crayfish," a foreign word, according to Klein probably Macedonian (the suffix -bos is non-Greek). Related: Scarabaean. In ancient use, also a gem cut in a shape like a scarab beetle and with an inscription on the underside.