An insect of an order distinguished by forewings typically modified into hard wing cases (elytra) that cover and protect the hind wings and abdomen.
- Order Coleoptera: see Coleoptera
- Among all the insects only beetles have these specialized fore-wings.
- A variety of insects, including some beetles and moths, mimic bees and wasps.
- It turns out that only some male horned scarab beetles grow long horns and battle for mates.
verb[no object] informal Back to top
Make one’s way hurriedly or with short, quick steps: the tourist beetled off
More example sentences
- Between us, we put everything away, the Engineer and his missus beetled off amid cheery cries of ‘No problem’, and I staggered off, cat securely clutched in arms, in search of gin.
- And off he beetled to the back room he set up a couple of days ago, with a clean workbench and a worklight just right for the assembly of electronic components.
- And, besides, it gave Graham a place to hide while I beetled over to the display of windchimes and began to put them through their paces.
Old English bitula, bitela 'biter', from the base of bītan 'to bite'.
1.1A machine used for heightening the luster of cloth by pressure from rollers.
- It worked perfectly - intensity of light was controlled by pressure on the beetle!
- Depending on the beetle pressure in a stand and individual susceptibility of baited trees, attacks may range from unsuccessful or no attack, to successfully mass attacked.
verb[with object] Back to top
verb[no object] (usually as adjective beetling)
(Of a person’s eyebrows) project or overhang threateningly: piercing eyes glittered beneath a great beetling brow
More example sentences
- He glared forbiddingly, his eyebrows beetling together like two fuzzy caterpillars were mating on his forehead.
- And then he began pounding on the table like Kruschev, his eyebrows beetling furiously.
- His eyebrows beetled, and he slipped into a deep sleep, with the music of Total Package playing in his ears.
adjective[attributive] Back to top
(Of a person’s eyebrows) shaggy and projecting.
- He furrows his beetle brows and fixes his stare on the turf in front, indifferent to the periphery.
- Beneath the beetle brow and the thinning combover, however, lurked a singular songwriting talent.
- He turned towards her; his eyes flashing under his beetling eyebrows.
mid 16th century (as an adjective): back-formation from beetle-browed. The verb was apparently used as a nonce word by Shakespeare and was later adopted by other writers.
- Example sentences
- It's as insular as the most beetle-browed peasant in a village on a Russian steppe in the 12 th century.
- We were an ambulatory species, and had been so ever since our beetle-browed ancestors first strode off to hunt and gather.
- At such moments, you wonder how she ended up playing such a beetle-browed old cynic as Mel.