- 1An insect of a large order distinguished by having forewings that are typically modified into hard wing cases (elytra), which cover and protect the hindwings and abdomen.
More example sentences
- 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.
- 2 [mass noun] British A dice game in which a picture of a beetle is drawn or assembled.More example sentences
- Take turns to roll the dice and gradually build your beetle (you must start with the body).
- In the old days, we used to meet weekly and ran bingo and beetle drives to raise money.
- Winnie said she remembered shows being suspended during the Second World Ward and members held a number of whist and beetle drives to keep the group together - and also put together packages for the boys on the front line.
verb[no object, with adverbial of direction] • informal Back to top
- Make one’s way hurriedly: the tourist beetled offMore 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'.
- 1A very heavy mallet, typically with a wooden head, used for ramming, crushing, etc..More example sentences
- Champ was prepared especially for the festival of Hallowe'en when large quantities of potatoes were pounded with a cylindrical wooden implement called a beetle.
- 2A machine used for heightening the lustre of cloth by pressure from rollers.More example sentences
- 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
- 2Finish (cloth) with a beetle.More example sentences
- From sowing to pulling, retting to rippling, spinning to weaving, beetling to bleaching, a long, exhausting and sometimes dangerous business made a cloth so precious it was put under armed guard and cost thieves their lives.
Old English bētel, of Germanic origin; related to beat.
verb[no object] (usually as adjective beetling)
- (Of a rock or a person’s eyebrows) project or overhang: his eyebrows beetled with irritationMore 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: thick beetle browsMore example sentences
- 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.
- More 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.
mid 16th century (as an adjective): back-formation from beetle-browed, first recorded in Middle English. The verb was apparently used as a nonce word by Shakespeare and was later adopted by other writers.