Deathwatch Death"watch` (?; 224), n. 1. (Zo["o]l.) (a) A small beetle ({Anobium tessellatum} and other allied species). By forcibly striking its head against woodwork it makes a ticking sound, which is a call of the sexes to each other, but has been imagined by superstitious people to presage death. (b) A small wingless insect, of the family {Psocid[ae]}, which makes a similar but fainter sound; -- called also {deathtick}. [1913 Webster]

She is always seeing apparitions and hearing deathwatches. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

I did not hear the dog howl, mother, or the deathwatch beat. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

2. The guard set over a criminal before his execution. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • deathwatch — [deth′wäch΄] n. 1. a vigil kept beside a dead or dying person 2. a guard set over a person soon to be executed 3. any of various insects, esp. any of a family (Anobiidae) of wood burrowing beetles whose heads make a tapping sound superstitiously… …   English World dictionary

  • Deathwatch — The term Deathwatch may refer to: Deathwatch (play), French playwright Jean Genet s earliest play (Haute Surveillance) Jean Genet s play Haute Surveillance, produced by Vic Morrow and Leonard Nimoy, directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy… …   Wikipedia

  • Deathwatch — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Deathwatch Produktionsland Vereinigtes Königreich, Deutschland, Frank …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • deathwatch — n. to maintain a deathwatch * * * to maintain a deathwatch …   Combinatory dictionary

  • deathwatch — I. noun Etymology: death + watch (timepiece); from the superstition that its ticking presages death Date: 1646 a small insect that makes a ticking sound; especially deathwatch beetle II. noun Etymology: death + watch (vigil) Date: circa 1890 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • deathwatch — /deth woch , wawch /, n. 1. a vigil beside a dying or dead person. 2. a guard set over a condemned person before execution. 3. Also called deathwatch beetle. any of several beetles of the family Anobiidae that make a ticking sound as they bore… …   Universalium

  • deathwatch — noun 1. minute wingless psocopterous insects injurious to books and papers • Syn: ↑booklouse, ↑book louse, ↑Liposcelis divinatorius • Hypernyms: ↑psocopterous insect • Hyponyms: ↑common booklouse, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • deathwatch — noun /ˈdɛθwɒtʃ/ a) A vigil besides a dying person b) One who guards a condemned person before execution …   Wiktionary

  • deathwatch — Synonyms and related words: agony, burial service, death agonies, death groan, death rattle, death struggle, death throes, deathbed, dirge, dying breath, eulogy, exequies, extreme unction, extremity, final extremity, funeral oration, funeral… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • deathwatch — n. vigil by the bed of a person who is dying …   English contemporary dictionary

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