from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous insects of the order Coleoptera, having biting mouthparts and forewings modified to form horny coverings that protect the underlying pair of membranous hind wings when at rest.
  • n. An insect resembling a member of the order Coleoptera.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way or move like a beetle: "Chambermaids . . . beetled from bedroom to bedroom loaded with . . . champagne” ( Vanity Fair).
  • adj. Jutting; overhanging: beetle brows.
  • intransitive v. To jut; overhang: "The rocks often beetled over the road” ( Washington Irving).
  • n. A heavy mallet with a large wooden head.
  • n. A small wooden household mallet.
  • n. A machine with revolving wooden hammers that gives fabrics a lustrous sheen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of numerous species of insect in the order Coleoptera characterized by a pair of hard, shell-like front wings which cover and protect a pair of rear wings when at rest.
  • v. To move away quickly, to scurry away.
  • v. To loom over; to extend or jut.
  • n. A type of mallet with a large wooden head.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A heavy mallet, used to drive wedges, beat pavements, etc.
  • n. A machine in which fabrics are subjected to a hammering process while passing over rollers, as in cotton mills; -- called also beetling machine.
  • n. 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.
  • intransitive v. To extend over and beyond the base or support; to overhang; to jut.
  • transitive v. To beat with a heavy mallet.
  • transitive v. To finish by subjecting to a hammering process in a beetle or beetling machine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To use a beetle on; beat with a heavy wooden mallet, as linen or cotton cloth, as a substitute for mangling.
  • To finish cloth by means of a beetling-machine.
  • Shaggy; prominent: used in beetle brow (also written beetle-brow).
  • To be prominent; extend out; overhang; jut.
  • n. A heavy wooden mallet, used to drive wedges, consolidate earth, etc.
  • n. A wooden pestle-shaped utensil used for mashing potatoes, for beating linen, etc.
  • n. Same as beetling-machine.
  • n. Any insect belonging to the order Coleoptera (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be suspended over or hang over
  • adj. jutting or overhanging
  • n. a tool resembling a hammer but with a large head (usually wooden); used to drive wedges or ram down paving stones or for crushing or beating or flattening or smoothing
  • v. beat with a beetle
  • v. fly or go in a manner resembling a beetle
  • n. insect having biting mouthparts and front wings modified to form horny covers overlying the membranous rear wings


Middle English betil, from Old English bitela, from bītan, to bite; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.
From Middle English bitel-brouwed, grim-browed : bitel, sharp (probably from Old English *bitol, biting, from Old English bite, bite; see bit2) + brouwed (from brow, brow; see brow).
Middle English betel, from Old English bȳtl; see bhau- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English bitle, bityl, bytylle, from Old English bitula, bitela, bītel ("beetle"), from Proto-Germanic *bitulaz (“that which tends to bite, biter, beetle”), equivalent to bite +‎ -le. Cognate with Danish bille ("beetle"), Icelandic bitil, bitul ("a bite, bit"). (Wiktionary)
Middle English betel, from Old English bīetel, akin to bēatan ("to beat") (Wiktionary)


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