wood louse

Origin of wood louse

First recorded in 1605–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for woodlouse

Historical Examples of woodlouse

  • Up to the present this is the only woodlouse which has been found in the nests of British ants.

    The British Woodlice

    Wilfred Mark Webb

  • They lie now where the woodlouse may eat them if it has so lowly an appetite.

  • One of the few people who had not been at the fire was our friend Woodlouse.

    Garman and Worse

    Alexander Lange Kielland

  • Doctor Fernie gives some interesting extracts with regard to the hog-louse and the woodlouse.

    The British Woodlice

    Wilfred Mark Webb

  • Professor Woodlouse thought that he and his brother scholars, by lying hid and being quiet, might maybe catch a live one.

    Sketches New and Old, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

British Dictionary definitions for woodlouse


noun plural -lice (-ˌlaɪs)
  1. any of various small terrestrial isopod crustaceans of the genera Oniscus, Porcellio, etc, which have a flattened segmented body and occur in damp habitatsSee also pill bug
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 woodlouse

1610s, from wood (n.) + louse (n.). So called from being found in old wood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper