Definition of cockchafer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒkˌtʃeɪfə/


A large brown European beetle which flies at dusk and is a destructive plant pest, both as an adult and a larva. Also called May bug.
  • Melolontha melolontha, family Scarabaeidae.
Example sentences
  • What a pleasant change from the labourer's unvarying meal of bread, lard, and bacon would be a good dish of fried cockchafers or grasshoppers!
  • At peak abundance, cockchafers reached densities of more than 50 individuals per meter of twig on some fruit trees and on shrubs.


Early 18th century: from cock1 (expressing size or vigour) + chafer.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cock|chafer

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