beetle

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English[edit]

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A beetle.

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bitle, bityl, bytylle, from Old English bitula, bitela, bītel (beetle), from Proto-Germanic *bitulaz, *bītilaz (that which tends to bite, biter, beetle), equivalent to bite +‎ -le. Cognate with Danish bille (beetle), Icelandic bitil, bitul (a bite, bit).

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

beetle (plural beetles)

  1. Any of numerous species of insect in the order Coleoptera characterized by a pair of hard, shell-like front wings which cover and protect a pair of rear wings when at rest.
  2. (uncountable) A game of chance in which players attempt to complete a drawing of a beetle, different dice rolls allowing them to add the various body parts.
    • 1944, Queen's Nurses' Magazine (volumes 33-35, page 12)
      Guessing competitions were tackled with much enthusiasm, followed by a beetle drive, and judging by the laughter, this was popular with all.
Synonyms[edit]
  • (insect): bug (U.S. colloquial)
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

beetle (third-person singular simple present beetles, present participle beetling, simple past and past participle beetled)

  1. To move away quickly, to scurry away.
    He beetled off on his vacation.
    • 1983, Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night[1], Mountaineers Books, ISBN 978-0-380-01207-7, page 144:
      [] But he seems to have beetled off somewhere as usual. []
    • 2003, J. K. Rowling, “The Department of Mysteries”, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, ISBN 9780439358064, page 766:
      In the falling darkness Harry saw small collections of lights as they passed over more villages, then a winding road on which a single car was beetling its way home through the hills. …
    • 2005, James Doss, The Witch's Tongue, ISBN 9780312991081, page 178:
      Her eyes still closed, his aunt smiled cruelly. “I know what you are dying to say, Bertie. Go ahead—take the cheap shot. I’ll squash you like the nasty little bug you are.” ¶ Thus chastened, the little man beetled away.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English bitel-brouwed (beetle-browed). Possibly after beetle#Etymology 1, from the fact that some beetles have bushy antennae.

Adjective[edit]

beetle (comparative more beetle, superlative most beetle)

  1. Protruding, jutting, overhanging. (As in beetle brows.)

Verb[edit]

beetle (third-person singular simple present beetles, present participle beetling, simple past and past participle beetled)

  1. To loom over; to extend or jut.
    The heavy chimney beetled over the thatched roof.
    • Shakespeare
      To the dreadful summit of the cliff / That beetles o'er his base into the sea.
    • Wordsworth
      Each beetling rampart, and each tower sublime.
    • 1858 January-March, Dean of Pimlico, “A Story for the New Year”, Dublin University Magazine reprinted in Littell's Living Age, volume 56 (volume 20 of the second series), Littell, Son & Company, page 63: 
      I was indeed gently affected, and shared his fears, remembering well the bulging walls of the old house, and the toppling mass of heavy chimney work which beetled over the roof, beneath which these poor doves had made their nest.
    • 1941, Chapman Miske, The Thing in the Moonlight:
      Impelled by some obscure quest, I ascended a rift or cleft in this beetling precipice, noting as I did so the black mouths of many fearsome burrows extending from both walls into the depths of the stony plateau.

Etymology 3[edit]

Middle English betel, from Old English bīetel, akin to bēatan (to beat)

Noun[edit]

beetle (plural beetles)

  1. A type of mallet with a large wooden head, used to drive wedges, beat pavements, etc.
  2. A machine in which fabrics are subjected to a hammering process while passing over rollers, as in cotton mills; a beetling machine.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

beetle (third-person singular simple present beetles, present participle beetling, simple past and past participle beetled)

  1. To beat with a heavy mallet.
  2. To finish by subjecting to a hammering process in a beetle or beetling machine.
    to beetle cotton goods