Definitions

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

  • n. Any of numerous oval, flat-bodied insects of the family Blattidae, including several species that are common household pests.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A black or brown straight-winged insect of the order Blattodea.
  • n. An unhygienic person or a member of a group of people regarded as unhygienic or rapidly procreating.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An orthopterous insect of the genus Blatta, and allied genera.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The popular name of the insects of the orthopterous genus Blatta, in a broad sense comprising several species, of which B. (Periplaneta) orientalis, the common cockroach or black beetle, may be regarded as the type.

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

  • n. any of numerous chiefly nocturnal insects; some are domestic pests

Etymologies

By folk etymology from obsolete cacarootch, from Spanish cucaracha, from cuca, caterpillar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish cucaracha ("woodlouse"), influenced, via folk etymology, by cock and roach. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "You have the balloon effect for shifting coca production, what I call the cockroach effect for how the cartels jump from one region to the next, and then there's the whack-a-mole policy to try to deal with all of it," says Bruce Bagley, a political scientist at the University of Miami and an expert on the global drug trade.

    Cocaine: The New Front Lines

  • So I guess if a cockroach is seen leaving the White House with a suitcase, the Obama's would be blamed for bringing them there – AND, would be blamed for them moving out!!!

    Fourth House Dem in past month announces retirement

  • First off, most basic sources will just try to give you some fluffy answer about how to tell a boy cockroach from a girl cockroach, which doesn't have anything to do with penises (or lack thereof) at all.

    Boing Boing

  • In fact, apparently, the easiest way to sex your cockroach is to count the number of of segments on the underside of its abdomen, according to roach expert Joseph Kunkel, a biology professor at the University of Mass.,

    Boing Boing

  • That's a grown man's hand the cockroach is perched on, and, yes, those are lovely wings.

    Day in the Life of an Idiot

  • The proteins in cockroach saliva and waste can also cause allergies and aggravate asthma.

    La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha

  • The Japanese for cockroach is ゴキブリ, gokiburi, just in case you are interested.

    Japanese love fireflies, hate cockroaches

  • Simon Mann on TMS: "Paul Collingwood has become England's new 'cockroach' - Australia used to call Mike Atherton 'the cockroach' as no matter how many times you stamped on him, he always came battling back"

    BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition

  • The world’s largest cockroach is the Australian Giant Burrowing Cockroach, which can reach over 3. 5″ in length and weigh more than 1.06 ounces.

    La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha

  • Just the word cockroach caused a shudder deep inside him.

    Elegance « A Fly in Amber

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Comments

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  • On the very day you posted that comment, whichbe, I learnt this for myself during a visit to a vivarium.

    May 10, 2008

  • A cockroach can live several weeks with its head cut off--it dies from starvation.

    May 7, 2008