any of numerous orthopterous insects of the family Blattidae, characterized by a flattened body, rapid movements, and nocturnal habits and including several common household pests.

Nearby words

  1. cockney,
  2. cockney bream,
  3. cockneyfy,
  4. cockneyism,
  5. cockpit,
  6. cockscomb,
  7. cocksfoot,
  8. cockshot,
  9. cockshut,
  10. cockshy

Origin of cockroach

1615–25; < Spanish cucaracha, of uncertain origin, assimilated by folk etymology to cock1, roach2

Also called roach. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cockroach

British Dictionary definitions for cockroach



any insect of the suborder Blattodea (or Blattaria), such as Blatta orientalis (oriental cockroach or black beetle): order Dictyoptera ., They have an oval flattened body with long antennae and biting mouthparts and are common household pestsSee also German cockroach, mantis

Word Origin for cockroach

C17: from Spanish cucaracha, of obscure origin

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 cockroach



1620s, folk etymology (as if from cock + roach) of Spanish cucaracha "chafer, beetle," from cuca "kind of caterpillar." Folk etymology also holds that the first element is from caca "excrement."

A certaine India Bug, called by the Spaniards a Cacarootch, the which creeping into Chests they eat and defile with their ill-sented dung [Capt. John Smith, "Virginia," 1624].
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper