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)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.