A beetle is a dark, shiny, hard-shelled insect. Your garden-loving grandmother will be distressed when she discovers her prize roses are infested with hungry beetles.

A beetle usually has pincers or a biting mouth in front and wings that are hard and protective, forming a kind of shell or armor over its body. There are around 400,000 different species of beetles, and they make up a quarter of all known animals. The beetles people are most familiar with are garden pests, nibbling on plants and flowers. The Old English word for beetle, bitela, literally means "little biter."

Definitions of beetle
  1. noun
    insect having biting mouthparts and front wings modified to form horny covers overlying the membranous rear wings
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    tiger beetle
    active usually bright-colored beetle that preys on other insects
    lady beetle, ladybeetle, ladybird, ladybird beetle, ladybug
    small round bright-colored and spotted beetle that usually feeds on aphids and other insect pests
    carabid beetle, ground beetle
    predacious shining black or metallic terrestrial beetle that destroys many injurious insects
    firefly, lightning bug
    nocturnal beetle common in warm regions having luminescent abdominal organs
    long-horned beetle, longicorn, longicorn beetle
    long-bodied beetle having very long antennae
    chrysomelid, leaf beetle
    brightly colored beetle that feeds on plant leaves; larvae infest roots and stems
    carpet beetle, carpet bug
    small beetle whose larvae are household pests feeding on woolen fabrics
    clerid, clerid beetle
    predacious on other insects; usually brightly colored or metallic
    lamellicorn beetle
    beetle having antennae with hard platelike terminal segments
    elater, elaterid, elaterid beetle
    any of various widely distributed beetles
    water beetle
    any of numerous aquatic beetles usually having a smooth oval body and flattened hind legs for swimming
    whirligig beetle
    aquatic beetle that circles rapidly on the water surface
    Xestobium rufovillosum, deathwatch, deathwatch beetle
    bores through wood making a ticking sound popularly thought to presage death
    any of several families of mostly small beetles that feed on plants and plant products; especially snout beetles and seed beetles
    blister beetle, meloid
    beetle that produces a secretion that blisters the skin
    bark beetle
    small beetle that bores tunnels in the bark and wood of trees; related to weevils
    rove beetle
    active beetle typically having predatory or scavenging habits
    Anoplophora glabripennis, Asian longhorned beetle
    a beetle from China that has been found in the United States and is a threat to hardwood trees; lives inside the tree; no natural predators in the United States
    Adalia bipunctata, two-spotted ladybug
    red ladybug with a black spot on each wing
    Epilachna varivestis, Mexican bean beetle, bean beetle
    introduced into the United States from Mexico; feeds on the foliage of the bean plant
    Hippodamia convergens
    a variety of ladybug
    Rodolia cardinalis, vedalia
    native to Australia; introduced elsewhere to control scale insects
    bombardier beetle
    beetle that ejects audibly a pungent vapor when disturbed
    any beetle of the genus Calosoma
    the luminous larva or wingless grub-like female of a firefly
    sawyer, sawyer beetle
    any of several beetles whose larvae bore holes in dead or dying trees especially conifers
    flea beetle
    any small leaf beetle having enlarged hind legs and capable of jumping
    Colorado beetle, Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, potato beetle, potato bug
    black-and-yellow beetle that feeds in adult and larval stages on potato leaves; originally of eastern Rocky Mountains; now worldwide
    Anthrenus scrophulariae, buffalo carpet beetle
    a small black and red and white carpet beetle
    black carpet beetle
    a carpet beetle that is solid black in color
    bee beetle
    European beetle; infests beehives
    scarabaean, scarabaeid, scarabaeid beetle
    any of numerous species of stout-bodied beetles having heads with horny spikes
    stag beetle
    a kind of lamellicorn beetle; the male has branched mandibles resembling antlers
    click beetle, skipjack, snapping beetle
    able to right itself when on its back by flipping into the air with a clicking sound
    Pyrophorus noctiluca, fire beetle, firefly
    tropical American click beetle having bright luminous spots
    snout beetle
    small weevil having a prolonged snout; destructive to e.g. grains and nuts
    Anthonomus grandis, boll weevil
    greyish weevil that lays its eggs in cotton bolls destroying the cotton
    oil beetle
    any of various beetles that exude an oily substance from the leg joints that deters enemies
    Spanish fly
    green beetle of southern Europe
    Dutch-elm beetle, Scolytus multistriatus
    a vector of the fungus causing Dutch elm disease
    Dendroctonus rufipennis, spruce bark beetle
    small beetle that likes to bore through the bark of spruce trees and eat the cambium which eventually kills the tree
    darkling beetle, darkling groung beetle, tenebrionid
    sluggish hard-bodied black terrestrial weevil whose larvae feed on e.g. decaying plant material or grain
    seed beetle, seed weevil
    a small beetle that infests the seeds of legumes
    Sitophylus oryzae, black weevil, rice weevil
    brown weevil that infests stored grain especially rice
    type of:
    small air-breathing arthropod
  2. verb
    fly or go in a manner resembling a beetle
    “He beetled up the staircase”
    “They beetled off home”
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    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  3. noun
    a tool resembling a hammer but with a large head (usually wooden); used to drive wedges or ram down paving stones or for crushing or beating or flattening or smoothing
    synonyms: mallet
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    carpenter's mallet
    a short-handled mallet with a wooden head used to strike a chisel or wedge
    a small mallet used by a presiding officer or a judge
    type of:
    a hand tool with a heavy rigid head and a handle; used to deliver an impulsive force by striking
  4. verb
    beat with a beetle
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    type of:
    hit repeatedly
  5. verb
    be suspended over or hang over
    “This huge rock beetles over the edge of the town”
    synonyms: overhang
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    type of:
    be suspended or hanging
  6. adjective
    jutting or overhanging
    beetle brows”
    synonyms: beetling
    thrusting outward
Word Family

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