See more synonyms for cockroach on
  1. 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.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for cockroach

Contemporary Examples of cockroach

Historical Examples of cockroach

  • Crept about the decks like a wretched insect—like a cockroach, only not so lively.

    Tales Of Hearsay

    Joseph Conrad

  • It has also the habit of paralysing the cockroach by stinging it on the nervous chain.

  • Finally, the cockroach began to fly; then, for a while, he had matters his own way.

  • When the cockroach crawls, he knows whither and wherefore he wants to go?

    Foma Gordyeff

    Maxim Gorky

  • But not you, you can't; you ain't got the invention of a cockroach.

    Treasure Island

    Robert Louis Stevenson

British Dictionary definitions for cockroach


  1. 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