• synonyms


  1. any of certain scarab beetles, especially the European species, Melolontha melolontha, which is very destructive to forest trees.
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Origin of cockchafer

1685–95; cock1 (with reference to its size) + chafer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cockchafer

Historical Examples

  • "They turned into cockchafer beetles, as a matter of fact," said Ulyth drily.

    For the Sake of the School

    Angela Brazil

  • Now he wanted to know exactly how often his son had visited the Cockchafer?

  • The only thing was that the Cockchafer, whatever one might say about it, was a public-house.

  • Loman was returning from one of his now frequent visits to the Cockchafer.

  • He returned with him to Maltby, and there spent an hour in the Cockchafer.

British Dictionary definitions for cockchafer


  1. any of various Old World scarabaeid beetles, esp Melolontha melolontha of Europe, whose larvae feed on crops and grassesAlso called: May beetle, May bug
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Word Origin

C18: from cock 1 + chafer
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