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."

Primary Meanings of beetle

insect having biting mouthparts and front wings modified to form horny covers overlying the membranous rear wings
fly or go in a manner resembling a beetle
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
beat with a beetle
be suspended over or hang over
jutting or overhanging
Full Definitions of beetle

n 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

v fly or go in a manner resembling a beetle

“He beetled up the staircase”
“They beetled off home”
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

n 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

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

v beat with a beetle

Type of:
hit repeatedly

v be suspended over or hang over

“This huge rock beetles over the edge of the town”
Type of:
be suspended or hanging

adj jutting or overhanging

beetle brows”
thrusting outward

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