Definition of deathwatch in English:
1A vigil kept beside a dead or dying individual.
- When his friend Sir Joseph Hooker's young son fell ill, Darwin drew on his own agonizing deathwatch of Annie to comfort him.
- During this period newspapers carried front-page stories of his losing battle with throat cancer, and readers maintained a long-distance deathwatch.
- Or maybe I'm just a sucker for another Hollywood tradition, a deathwatch graced by an angelic kid's big smile.
2 (also deathwatch beetle) A small beetle with larvae that bore into dead wood and structural timbers, causing considerable damage. The adult makes a sound like a watch ticking that was formerly believed to portend death.
- Xestobium rufovillosum, family Anobiidae
- Male death-watch beetles bang their heads against the sides of their wooden tunnels to attract females.
- Indeed, the behaviour of death-watch beetle actually makes it more susceptible to surface treatments than common furniture beetle.
- Anobiids are similar to lyctids in color and size, but are cylindrical; the common furniture and death-watch beetles belong in this group.