deathwatch beetle
noun Date: 1877 any of various small beetles (family Anobiidae, especially Xestobium rufovillosum) that bore in seasoned or dead wood (as of old buildings) and make a tapping noise as a mating call

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • deathwatch beetle — noun bores through wood making a ticking sound popularly thought to presage death • Syn: ↑deathwatch, ↑Xestobium rufovillosum • Hypernyms: ↑beetle • Member Holonyms: ↑Anobiidae, ↑family Anobiidae * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • deathwatch beetle — Borer insect (beetle species Xestobium refuvillosum) that tends to be small (less than 0.5 in., or 1–9 mm) and cylindrical. When disturbed, it usually pulls in its legs and plays dead. It makes a ticking or clicking sound by bumping its head or… …   Universalium

  • deathwatch beetle — /dɛθwɒtʃ ˈbitl/ (say dethwoch beetl) noun any of certain woodboring beetles of the family Anobiidae which infest timbers. {from the belief that the ticking sound, made by the beetle tapping its head against wood to attract a mate, was an omen of… …   Australian English dictionary

  • deathwatch beetle — noun Any of various beetles of the family Anobiidae that bore into wood and make a tapping sound …   Wiktionary

  • beetle — beetle1 /beet l/, n., v., beetled, beetling. n. 1. any of numerous insects of the order Coleoptera, characterized by hard, horny forewings that cover and protect the membranous flight wings. 2. (loosely) any of various insects resembling the… …   Universalium

  • deathwatch — noun 1. minute wingless psocopterous insects injurious to books and papers • Syn: ↑booklouse, ↑book louse, ↑Liposcelis divinatorius • Hypernyms: ↑psocopterous insect • Hyponyms: ↑common booklouse, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • deathwatch — I. noun Etymology: death + watch (timepiece); from the superstition that its ticking presages death Date: 1646 a small insect that makes a ticking sound; especially deathwatch beetle II. noun Etymology: death + watch (vigil) Date: circa 1890 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • deathwatch — /deth woch , wawch /, n. 1. a vigil beside a dying or dead person. 2. a guard set over a condemned person before execution. 3. Also called deathwatch beetle. any of several beetles of the family Anobiidae that make a ticking sound as they bore… …   Universalium

  • Deathwatch — Death watch (?; 224), n. 1. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A small beetle ({Anobium tessellatum} and other allied species). By forcibly striking its head against woodwork it makes a ticking sound, which is a call of the sexes to each other, but has been imagined …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Deathwatch — The term Deathwatch may refer to: Deathwatch (play), French playwright Jean Genet s earliest play (Haute Surveillance) Jean Genet s play Haute Surveillance, produced by Vic Morrow and Leonard Nimoy, directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy… …   Wikipedia

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