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common name of the slender, chirping, hopping insectsinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 forming the family Gryllidae in the order Orthoptera. Most crickets have long antennae, muscular hind legs for jumping, and two pairs of fully developed wings. In some subfamilies the wings are reduced or absent.

In most subfamilies the males have song-producing, or stridulatory, organs on the front wings. Both sexes possess auditory organs on the forelegs. The stridulatory apparatus is most highly developed in the field crickets and the tree crickets. Members of these subfamilies have a ridged region, which acts as a file, and a hardened region, which acts as a scraper, on each front wing; sound is produced by rubbing the wings together.

Crickets reproduce sexually, producing from one to three generations per year. The females usually lay eggs in the ground or in soft-stemmed plants during the late summer or fall. The eggs hatch in the spring and the emerging young are similar to the adults except for their smaller size and lack of wings.

Crickets occur mostly in the temperate climates. The common field crickets of the United States are species of the genus Gryllus; all are brown to black, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) long, and are found in fields and meadows and often in houses. The tree crickets are slender, pale green or whitish insects of trees and shrubs; most U.S. species belong to the genus Oecanthus. The rate of chirping of tree crickets increases with increasing temperature. In the snowy tree cricket, Oecanthus fultoni, this variation is so regular that if the number 40 is added to the number of chirps per 15-sec interval, the sum is a fair approximation of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Ant-loving crickets are tiny wingless forms 1-8 in. to 1-5 in. (3–5 mm) long that occur in ant nests, where they feed on an oily secretion produced by the ants.

In addition to the true crickets of the family Gryllidae, insects of the family Gryllacrididae are also called crickets. These are the cave, or camel, crickets, found throughout the world in dark, moist places, and the stone, sand, or Jerusalem crickets of W North America, found under stones in sandy soil. Mole crickets (genus Gryllotalpa, family Gryllotalpidae) are nocturnal insects that have strong front legs adapted for digging and burrowing rather than strong hind legs for jumping. They live in moist soil. All crickets belong to the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Orthoptera.


ball-and-bat game played chiefly in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries.

Basic Rules

Cricket is played by two teams of eleven on a level, closely cut oval "pitch" preferably measuring about 525 ft (160 m) by about 550 ft (170 m). Two wickets are placed 66 ft (20.12 m) apart near the middle of the field. A wicket consists of two wooden crosspieces (bails) resting on three wooden stumps 28 in. (71.1 cm) high.

At each wicket stands a batsman. If the opposing bowler, delivering the ball from near the opposing wicket, knocks down the bails of the batsman's wicket, the batsman is retired. In delivering the hard, leather-covered ball, the bowler throws overarm but may not bend the arm, and the ball usually approaches the batsman on one bounce. After six bowls to one batsman, an umpire (there is one at each wicket) calls "over," and another bowler begins bowling to the batsman's partner at the opposing wicket. The players in the field shift position according to the batsmen.

If the batsman hits the ball with his willow paddle-shaped bat far enough so that both batsmen may run to exchange places, a run is scored. When the ball is hit a long distance (in any direction, since there are no foul lines), up to four exchanges or runs may be made. (If the ball crosses the boundary of the field on the ground, four runs are scored automatically; if it clears the boundary in the air, six are scored.) However, if the opposing team recovers the ball and uses it to knock down the bails of a wicket before the batsman reaches it, the batsman is out. A batsman is also retired if an opposing fielder catches a batted ball on the fly (as in baseballbaseball,
bat-and-ball sport known as the national pastime of the United States. It derives its name from the four bases that form a diamond (the infield) around the pitcher's mound.
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), or for any of several more technical reasons. An outstanding turn at bat may result in more than 100 runs, a "century."

A game usually consists of two innings; in one innings all players on each team bat once in a fixed order (unless a team, having scored what it considers runs adequate to win, chooses to retire without completing its order); a game may take several days to complete. Substitutions are allowed only for serious injury.

Origin of Cricket

Cricket's origin is obscure. Evidence suggests it was played in England in the 12th–13th cent., and it was popular there by the end of the 17th cent. By the mid-18th cent. the aristocracy had adopted the game. In 1744 the London Cricket Club produced what are recognizably the rules of modern cricket. The Marylebone Cricket Club, one of the oldest (1787) cricket organizations, is the game's international governing body.

Principal Modern Matches

In Great Britain the principal cricket matches are those between the universities (especially Oxford and Cambridge) and between largely professional teams representing the English counties. Among international, or test, matches (begun 1877), the most famous is that between Australia and Britain for the "Ashes." Since the 1970s the West Indies (a team assembled from several nations), India, Pakistan, and South Africa have challenged English and Australian claims to world dominance.

Recent Developments

In the early 21st cent., Twenty20, a new version of cricket with a much faster, more compressed format, emerged in India. A typical Twenty20 game lasts about three hours, in contrast to the regular cricket's customary five-day test match. Twenty20 is played by a much younger and fitter group of cricketers, whose vigorous athleticism is also in sharp contrast to the play of the older, traditional players. In 2007, 27 games were played by 12 countries in the first Twenty20 world tournament.


See Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1864–); R. Bowen, Cricket (1970); J. Ford, Cricket (1972).


A small element with two slopes, in the form of a miniature gable roof, placed behind a chimney that penetrates a sloping roof, to shed water.



a team sport played with a ball and bats. Cricket originated in England, where the game was known in the Middle Ages. Since the 18th century, official competitions have been held between cricket clubs, using rules unchanged to this day.

Cricket is played on a grass field (usually 80x60 m), in the center of which two wickets (67.5 cm high and 20 cm wide) are set up 20 m apart. The ball weighs 170.5 grams and is 23 cm in circumference; the oarlike bat is no more than 95 cm long, and its “blade” is 6.5 cm wide. The point of the game is to bowl the ball and hit the opposing team’s wicket; the opponents defend their wicket, returning the ball with their bats. There are 11 men on a team. The game of cricket includes running and “getting players out,” which makes it similar to Russian lapta and American baseball. The game lasts several hours (on agreement between teams).

Cricket is popular in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and a number of the African states; national and international matches are held, some of which have become traditions —for example, the teams of Great Britain and Australia have met regularly since the late 19th century.



(building construction)
A device that is used to divert water at the intersections of roofs or at the intersection of a roof and chimney.
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the insect family Gryllidae.
The common name for any of several related species of orthopteran insects in the families Tettigoniidae, Gryllotalpidae, and Tridactylidae.

cricket, saddle

A small saddle-shaped projection on a sloping roof; used to divert water around an obstacle such as a chimney.


symbol of summer; weather prognosticator. [Insect Symbolism: Jobes, 382]
See: Summer


1. any insect of the orthopterous family Gryllidae, having long antennae and, in the males, the ability to produce a chirping sound (stridulation) by rubbing together the leathery forewings
2. any of various related insects, such as the mole cricket


a. a game played by two teams of eleven players on a field with a wicket at either end of a 22-yard pitch, the object being for one side to score runs by hitting a hard leather-covered ball with a bat while the other side tries to dismiss them by bowling, catching, running them out, etc.
b. (as modifier): a cricket bat
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