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[loh-kuh st] /ˈloʊ kəst/
Also called acridid, short-horned grasshopper. any of several grasshoppers of the family Acrididae, having short antennae and commonly migrating in swarms that strip the vegetation from large areas.
any of various cicadas, as the seventeen-year locust.
any of several North American trees belonging to the genus Robinia, of the legume family, especially R. pseudoacacia, having pinnate leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers.
the durable wood of this tree.
any of various other trees, as the carob and the honey locust.
Origin of locust
1150-1200; Middle English < Latin locusta grasshopper
Related forms
locustlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for locust
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She did not go back to locust the next day, nor for weeks after that.

    The Little Colonel Annie Fellows Johnston
  • Clark joined in the argument from the blackness under the locust tree.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Wiggle appeared to claim the locust as a souvenir of the scout's magic.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • This plant is very common on the locust trees about Chillicothe.

  • The creature most commonly called a locust is a cicada, or harvest fly.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • The cicada, it will be remembered, is what is commonly called a locust.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • Captain Kendrick sat upright on the settee, beneath the locust tree.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • He is greedy as the locust, wily as the serpent, and ferocious as the panther.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • The ceremony closed with the planting of a Virginia locust by the Doctor.

    Benjamin Franklin Paul Elmer More
British Dictionary definitions for locust


any of numerous orthopterous insects of the genera Locusta, Melanoplus, etc, such as L. migratoria, of warm and tropical regions of the Old World, which travel in vast swarms, stripping large areas of vegetation See also grasshopper (sense 1) Compare seventeen-year locust
Also called locust tree, false acacia. a North American leguminous tree, Robinia pseudoacacia, having prickly branches, hanging clusters of white fragrant flowers, and reddish-brown seed pods
the yellowish durable wood of this tree
any of several similar trees, such as the honey locust and carob
Derived Forms
locust-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13 (the insect): from Latin locusta locust; applied to the tree (C17) because the pods resemble locusts
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 locust

"grasshopper," early 14c., borrowed earlier in Old French form languste (c.1200), from Latin locusta "locust, lobster" (see lobster).

In the Hebrew Bible there are nine different names for the insect or for particular species or varieties; in the English Bible they are rendered sometimes 'locust,' sometimes 'beetle,' 'grasshopper,' 'caterpillar,' 'palmerworm,' etc. The precise application of several names is unknown. [OED]


North American tree, 1630s, originally "carob tree" (1610s), whose fruit supposedly resembled the insect (see locust (n.1)). Greek akris "locust" often was applied in the Levant to carob pods. Soon applied in English to other trees as well.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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