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scarab

[skar-uh b]
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noun
  1. any scarabaeid beetle, especially Scarabaeus sacer, regarded as sacred by the ancient Egyptians.
  2. a representation or image of a beetle, much used among the ancient Egyptians as a symbol, seal, amulet, or the like.
  3. a gem cut to resemble a beetle.
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Also scarabaeus (for defs 2, 3).

Origin of scarab

First recorded in 1570–80; short for scarabaeus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scarab

Historical Examples

  • This scarab was in a ring on the finger of the mummy of a woman.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • The scarab Madge knew to be a beetle sacred to the Egyptians.

    Madge Morton's Secret

    Amy D. V. Chalmers

  • Into the glisten of a scarab is polished the prophecy of a life.

    Special Messenger

    Robert W. Chambers

  • This scarab is a poor thing, give it back to me and you shall have a better.

    Moon of Israel

    H. Rider Haggard

  • After the Christian era the influence of cult of the scarab was still felt.

    Scarabs

    Isaac Myer


British Dictionary definitions for scarab

scarab

noun
  1. any scarabaeid beetle, esp Scarabaeus sacer (sacred scarab), regarded by the ancient Egyptians as divine
  2. the scarab as represented on amulets, etc, of ancient Egypt, or in hieroglyphics as a symbol of the solar deity
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin scarabaeus; probably related to Greek karabos horned beetle
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

Word Origin and History for scarab

n.

"black dung beetle," held sacred by the ancient Egyptians, 1570s, from Middle French scarabeé, from Latin scarabaeus, name of a type of beetle, from Greek karabos "beetle, crayfish," a foreign word, according to Klein probably Macedonian (the suffix -bos is non-Greek). Related: Scarabaean. In ancient use, also a gem cut in a shape like a scarab beetle and with an inscription on the underside.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper