Definition of cockroach in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkäkˌrōCH/


Image of cockroach
A beetlelike insect with long antennae and legs, feeding by scavenging. Several tropical species have become established worldwide as pests in homes and food service establishments.
  • Suborder Blattodea, order Dictyoptera: many genera and species, including the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana); some, especially in the genus Ectobius, are small temperate species that live outdoors.
Example sentences
  • Houseflies, mosquitoes and cockroaches are identified as the most common domestic insect pests.
  • The ants and the cockroaches have also begun to return; no longer is it safe to leave the cat food out on the back step.
  • Removing the space prevents cockroaches and other pests from residing in the dark corners.


Early 17th century (as cacaroch): from Spanish cucaracha. The spelling change was due to association with cock1 and roach2.

  • The early written form of cockroach was cacaroch, from the Spanish cucaracha ‘cockroach’. People adapted the spelling to make it fit in better with the more familiar English words cock and roach (Middle English), the freshwater fish, whose origin is unknown.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cock·roach

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