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From Middle English locuste, locust, from Anglo-Norman locuste, Middle French locuste, and their source, Latin locusta (locust, crustacean, lobster).[1] Doublet of langouste. The sense in "Mainlander" is a calque of Cantonese 蝗蟲 (wong4 cung4), also meaning "locust".



locust (plural locusts)

  1. Any of the grasshoppers, often polyphenic and usually swarming, in the family Acrididae that are very destructive to crops and other vegetation, (especially) the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria). [from 14th c.]
  2. (now historical) A fruit or pod of the carob tree. [from 16th c.]
    • 1789, Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative, vol. I, ch. 9:
      Among other articles, they brought with them a great quantity of locusts, which are a kind of pulse, sweet and pleasant to the palate, and in shape resembling French beans, but longer.
  3. Any of various often leguminous trees and shrubs, especially of the genera Robinia and Gleditsia; the locust tree. [from 17th c.]
  4. A cicada. [from 18th c.]
  5. (Hong Kong, derogatory, offensive) A Mainlander.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sometimes confused with locus.


  1. American locust (Schistocerca americana)
  2. Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)
  3. Bombay locust (Nomadacris succincta)
  4. brown locust (Locustana pardalina)
  5. desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria)
  6. Italian locust (Calliptamus italicus)
  7. migratory locust (Locusta migratoria)
  8. Moroccan locust (Dociostaurus maroccanus)
  9. red locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata)
  10. Rocky Mountain locust (Melanoplus spretus) (extinct)
  11. spur-throated locust (Austracris guttulosa), of Australia
  12. Tree locusts (Anacridium spp.)
    1. Anacridium aegyptium (Egyptian locust).
    2. Anacridium melanorhodon, of Africa.
    3. Anacridium wernerellum, of Africa.



locust (third-person singular simple present locusts, present participle locusting, simple past and past participle locusted)

  1. (intransitive) To come in a swarm.
    • 1875, Alfred Tennyson, Queen Mary: A Drama, London: Henry S. King & Co., OCLC 926377946, (please specify the page):
      This Philip and the black-faced swarms of Spain,
      The hardest, cruellest people in the world,
      Come locusting upon us, eat us up,
      Confiscate lands, goods, money []


  1. ^ locust”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of locuste