/beet"l/, n., v., beetled, beetling.
1. any of numerous insects of the order Coleoptera, characterized by hard, horny forewings that cover and protect the membranous flight wings.
2. (loosely) any of various insects resembling the beetle, as a cockroach.
3. Chiefly Brit. to move quickly; scurry: He beetled off to catch the train.
[bef. 900; late ME betylle, bityl, OE bitela (bitel- biting (bit- BITE + -el adj. suffix) + -a n. suffix)]
beetler, n.
/beet"l/, n., v., beetled, beetling.
1. a heavy hammering or ramming instrument, usually of wood, used to drive wedges, force down paving stones, compress loose earth, etc.
2. any of various wooden instruments for beating linen, mashing potatoes, etc.
3. to use a beetle on; drive, ram, beat, or crush with a beetle.
4. to finish (cloth) with a beetling machine.
[bef. 900; ME betel, OE betl, bytel hammer (c. MLG betel chisel), equiv. to be(a)t- BEAT + -il n. suffix]
/beet"l/, adj., v., beetled, beetling.
1. projecting; overhanging: beetle brows.
2. to project; jut out; overhang: a cliff that beetles over the sea.
3. to hang or tower over in a threatening or menacing manner: The prospect of bankruptcy beetled over him.
[1325-75; ME; back formation from BEETLE-BROWED]

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Any of at least 250,000 species of insects constituting the order Coleoptera (the largest order in the animal kingdom), characterized by special forewings, called elytra, which are modified into hardened covers over a second pair of functional wings.

Beetles occur in almost all environments except Antarctica and the peaks of the highest mountains. Temperate zones have fewer beetle species than the tropics but in greater numbers. The smallest species are less than 0.04 in. (1 mm) long; the largest can exceed 8 in. (20 cm). Most beetles eat either other animals or plants; some eat decaying matter. Some species destroy crops, timber, and textiles and spread parasitic worms and diseases. Others are valuable predators of insect pests. Some beetles are known by other common names (e.g., borer, chafer, curculio, firefly, weevil). Beetles are preyed on by other insects and by bats, swifts, and frogs.
(as used in expressions)
May beetle

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 any of more than 350,000 species of insects, making it the largest order in the animal kingdom. Beetles are principally characterized by their special forewings, which are modified into hardened wing covers (elytra) that cover a second pair of functional wings. The order includes some of the largest and smallest insects and is the most widely distributed insect order. Most feed either upon other animals or upon plants, but some eat decaying matter.

      Some beetles are of great economic importance. Both adults and larvae may destroy crops, timber, and textiles and spread parasitic worms and diseases. Other beetles are valuable because they prey on insect pests. Although the name beetle applies to all coleopterans, some are known by other common names such as weevil, borer, firefly, chafer, and curculio. See coleopteran for a detailed description of this important insect order.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • beetle — beetle1 [bēt′ l] n. [ME bitil < OE bitela < bītan, BITE] 1. any of a large order (Coleoptera) of insects, including weevils, with biting mouthparts and hard front wings (elytra) that cover the membranous hind wings when the hind wings are… …   English World dictionary

  • Beetle — Bee tle, n. [OE. bityl, bittle, AS. b[imac]tel, fr. b[imac]tan to bite. See {Bite}, v. t.] Any insect of the order Coleoptera, having four wings, the outer pair being stiff cases for covering the others when they are folded up. See {Coleoptera}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Beetle — Bee tle (b[=e] t l), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Beetled} ( t ld); p. pr. & vb. n. {Beetling}.] 1. To beat with a heavy mallet. [1913 Webster] 2. To finish by subjecting to a hammering process in a beetle or beetling machine; as, to beetle cotton goods …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Beetle — Bee tle, v. i. [See {Beetlebrowed}.] To extend over and beyond the base or support; to overhang; to jut. [1913 Webster] To the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o er his base into the sea. Shak. [1913 Webster] Each beetling rampart, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Beetle — Bee tle (b[=e] t l), n. [OE. betel, AS. b[=i]tl, b?tl, mallet, hammer, fr. be[ a]tan to beat. See {Beat}, v. t.] 1. A heavy mallet, used to drive wedges, beat pavements, etc. [1913 Webster] 2. A machine in which fabrics are subjected to a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Beetle — Beetles redirects here. For the band, see The Beatles. For the car, see Volkswagen Beetle. This article is about the insect. For other uses, see Beetle (disambiguation). Beetle Temporal range: 318–0 Ma …   Wikipedia

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