From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: lady-bird


A ladybird.

Alternative forms[edit]


From lady +‎ bird, the “lady” here referring to the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mother. Compare German Marienkäfer (literally Mary beetle/bug).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈleɪ.di.bəːd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈleɪ.di.bɝd/
  • (file)


ladybird (plural ladybirds)

  1. Any of the Coccinellidae family of beetles, typically having a round shape and red or yellow spotted elytra.
    Synonyms: (North America) ladybug, (preferred by some scientists) lady beetle, (obsolete, Britain) ladycow, (obsolete, Britain) lady fly, (archaic, dialectal UK) bishy barnabee
    • 1914, Entomological Society of America, Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 7, page 81,
      During this time, they eat about 825 Toxoptera per ladybird, making an average of about twenty-five per day to each ladybird.
    • 1927, Hamilton Wright Mabie, Edward Everett Hale, and William Byron Forbush (editors), Childhood′s Favorites and Fairy Stories: The Young Folks Treasury, Volume 1, Gutenberg eBook #19993,
      Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly away home, / Thy house is on fire, thy children all gone: / All but one whose name is Ann, / And she crept under the pudding-pan.
    • 1976 September 30, Denis Owen, Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, New Scientist, page 686,
      Ladybirds, unlike most beetles, enjoy considerable popularity: they are attractive to look at and are well-known as useful predators of aphids—the greenfly and blackfly that destroy garden plants and crops.
    • 2008, John L. Capinera, Encyclopedia of Entomology, Springer-Verlag New York, 2nd Edition, page 2130,
      Perhaps it was a sense of lack of effectiveness of native ladybirds in rapid and complete control of aphid infestations that led to attempts to import additional aphid-feeding ladybird species into North America.

Usage notes[edit]

The term ladybird is used in British English, while the alternative ladybug is common in the US and Canada.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]