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90s Slang You Should Know

ladybird beetle

[ley-dee-burd] /ˌleɪ diˌbɜrd/
Also called ladybird.
Origin of ladybird beetle
1730-40, Americanism; lady (uninflected possessive case) Virgin Mary + bird; i.e. (our) Lady's bird


[ley-dee-buhg] /ˈleɪ diˌbʌg/
any of numerous small, round, often brightly colored and spotted beetles of the family Coccinellidae, feeding chiefly on aphids and other small insects, but including several forms that feed on plants.
Also called ladybeetle, lady beetle, ladybird beetle, ladybird.
First recorded in 1690-1700; lady + bug1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ladybird
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A Prussian ladybird rhyme also mentions the boat that sailed across heaven.

  • "Good-bye, ladybird," he said, and there was marked kindliness in his tone.

  • Miss Priscilla had effectually learned that to get any answer from her niece she must call her ladybird.

    The Staying Guest Carolyn Wells
  • By the way, ladybird, there's something I want to tell you, and this is a good opportunity.

  • She suggests that ladybird should come, because, she says, we will naturally want to keep our own niece ourselves.

    The Staying Guest Carolyn Wells
  • "You're all safe now, my ladybird," he said with a low laugh.

  • "What's forgiven should be forgotten, ladybird," he answered, tightening the arm that held her.

  • "It is rather cruel of you to put it that way, ladybird," he said gently.

  • “Yes,” said Miss Priscilla, in a tone which seemed to ladybird almost solemn.

    The Staying Guest Carolyn Wells
British Dictionary definitions for ladybird


any of various small brightly coloured beetles of the family Coccinellidae, such as Adalia bipunctata (two-spotted ladybird), which has red elytra marked with black spots Usual US and Canadian name ladybug
Word Origin
C18: named after Our Lady, the Virgin Mary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ladybird

"sweetheart," 1590s, from lady + bird (n.2).



1690s, from lady + bug (n.). The "lady" is the Virgin Mary (cf. German cognate Marienkäfer). In Britain, now usually ladybird beetle (1704), through aversion to the word bug, which there has overtones of sodomy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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