Definitions

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

  • n. See ladybug.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the Coccinellidae family of beetles, typically having a round shape and red or yellow spotted elytra.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of small beetles of the genus Coccinella and allied genera (family Coccinellidæ); -- called also ladybug, ladyclock, lady cow, lady fly, ladybeetle, and lady beetle. Coccinella seplempunctata in one of the common European species. See coccinella.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A beetle of the family Coccinellidæ, order Coleoptera, so called from its graceful form and delicate coloration.
  • n. The pintail duck, Dafila acuta: so called from its graceful form.
  • n. A lady-love; a sweetheart: often used as a term of endearment.

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

  • n. small round bright-colored and spotted beetle that usually feeds on aphids and other insect pests

Etymologies

From lady +‎ bird, the “lady” here referring to the Virgin Mary, Jesus′ mother. Compare German Marienkäfer. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • Tee hee! It doesn't take very much to amuse my simple mind.

    chortle.

    February 5, 2009

  • Aaaand the award for referencing the most most active threads in one comment goes to..!

    February 5, 2009

  • What?! What is this?!
    Nuffink! I frink I'll have some casu marzu, confided the ladybird to her friend the ootheca, as they chatted over the arabian telephone.

    February 5, 2009

  • Nor was Taylor, I reckon.
    By the way, in the part of the US where I come from, we call this beetle a ladybug. The "lady" in both words is, of course, the one Catholics call "Our Lady" (Notre Dame, for you college football fans).

    February 4, 2009

  • Surely Johnson wasn't her given name :)

    February 2, 2009

  • Ladybird Johnson's given name? Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson.

    February 2, 2009

  • A cardinal's a bird.

    February 2, 2009

  • Definitely...

    February 2, 2009

  • You know what's NOT a bird? A Steeler. Go.

    February 2, 2009

  • sionnach, cochineal is a different species, Dactylopius coccus, whose Italian name is cocciniglia. The color carmine (carminus or coccinus in Latin) was (is) traditionally obtained from this insect's body scales and eggs.

    While we are at it: the name of the Italian liqueur Alchermes (or "Alkermes") derives from Arabic al-qirmiz, which means... cochineal.

    February 2, 2009

  • It seems to mean 'Our Lord's beast', or at least that is what the lieveheersbeestje part means, and that is the word I somewhere came across recently. However I picked up Meeldauwlieveheersbeestje when I thought of adding to the comments here. Meeldauwlieveheersbeestje seems to refer to the orange ladybird, and I've discovered that the orange ladybird feeds on mildew.

    February 1, 2009

  • Pro: Does coccinella bear any relationship to cochineal? I seem to recall that cochineal used to be obtained by grinding up the bodies of scarlet insects of some kind.

    garyth: does 'meeldauwlieveheersbeestje' have a literal translation?

    February 1, 2009

  • Coccinella in Italian (from Latin, "little scarlet [lady]").

    January 31, 2009

  • Meeldauwlieveheersbeestje in Dutch.

    January 31, 2009


  • In Devonshire the lady-bird is " God-a'mighty cow " ; in Lincolnshire, " cow-lady " or " lamb-lady" ; in France, " Vache a Dieu," " bete a bon Dieu," and " bete a Martin."

    The German is " Marienkafer " (Mary's chafer) or " Sonnenkafer " (sun-chafer).


    (Notes and Queries, 1907, page 10)

    January 31, 2009