Definitions

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

  • adj. Botany Of or relating to pitch.
  • adj. Glossy black.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to pitch; resembling pitch in color or quality; pitchy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to pitch; resembling pitch in color or quality; pitchy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In botany and zoology, pitch-black; black with faint dark-red tinge.

Etymologies

From Latin piceus, from pix, pic-, pitch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin piceus, from pix, picis, pitch. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The mandibles ferruginous, with their apex piceous.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Head oblong, narrowed behind, posteriorly deeply emarginate; the mandibles rufo-piceous, brightest at their apex, which is armed with two long teeth which are bent abruptly inwards, their tips black; the anterior portion of the head striated obliquely from the centre; the head, behind the anterior sulcation, very smooth and shining and having a deep longitudinal central depression.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Head chalybeous; antennæ red; legs tawny, hind tibiæ piceous towards the tips, hind tarsi piceous towards the base; wings blackish, darker along the costa, cinereous towards the tips with the exception of the costa; halteres testaceous.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Abdomen: the first segment with a transverse carina at its base, in front of which is an irregularly cut deep transverse channel forming a second carina in front of the groove; the segments finely punctured, the first and second segments with a yellow posterior border, the fourth and following segments rufo-piceous.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Head black, white about the eyes; antennæ testaceous; abdomen clothed with short black bristles; legs testaceous, tarsi piceous; wings grey, with a lurid tinge towards the costa; veins black, discal transverse vein nearly straight, parted by about its length from the border, and by a little more than its length from the præbrachial transverse; alulæ slightly testaceous; halteres testaceous.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Reddish-yellow; the head, apical joint of the intermediate tarsi, the apex of the posterior tibiæ, and the third and following segments of the abdomen black; the thorax and legs with a thin, short, pale fulvous pubescence; the head and abdomen smooth and shining; the head produced before the eyes into a kind of beak, rufo-piceous anteriorly.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Black; a line down the inner orbits of the eyes, continued along the lower margins of the face, and uniting with the clypeus, which as well as a line above it between the antennæ are yellow; a spot on the scape in front, and the mandibles, yellow; the latter rufo-piceous at their apex.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Head black above, testaceous beneath; antennæ testaceous; abdomen with four broad abbreviated piceous bands; legs tawny, hind tibiæ black with a tawny apical mark, hind tarsi black towards the base; wings greyish, slightly lurid towards the base, blackish-brown about the exterior part of the costa, veins black, tawny towards the base; halteres testaceous, tawny towards the tips.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Black, punctured and opake; the clypeus terminating in a sharp-pointed angle; the base and apex of the mandibles rufo-piceous; the scape ferruginous in front; the face with a thin, fine, griseous pubescence.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

  • Thorax and pectus tawny, the former globose, with a black dorsal spot; abdomen tawny at the base; anterior legs testaceous, hind femora spinose beneath; wings grey, darker at the tips; stigma and veins black; halteres testaceous, with piceous tips.

    Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3 Zoology

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  • Picea (see picea) is the genus name of the spruce tree. In the past, spruce resin/gum was processed into a sort of chewing gum. This gum had the pitchiness but not the blackness implied by the adjective piceous, as Robert Frost told us in this excerpt from his 1920 poem The Gum-Gatherer:

    What this man brought in a cotton sack
    Was gum, the gum of the mountain spruce.
    He showed me lumps of the scented stuff
    Like uncut jewels, dull and rough.
    It comes to market golden brown;
    But turns to pink between the teeth.

    The entire poem may be read at Bartleby.com.

    February 21, 2013