1. Any of numerous beetles of the family Scarabaeidae; a scarabaeid.
2. The scarabaeid beetle Scarabaeus sacer, regarded as sacred by the ancient Egyptians.
3. A representation of this beetle, such as a ceramic or stone sculpture or a cut gem, used in ancient Egypt as a talisman and a symbol of the soul. Also called scarabaeus.
[French scarabée, from Latin scarabaeus, from Greek kārabos, spiny lobster, longhorn beetle.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.