Posts Tagged ‘earwig’

Earwig

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Earwig is the common name given to the insect order Dermaptera characterized by membranous wings folded underneath short leathery forewings (hence the literal name of the order—"skin wings").  Earwigs are quite common globally. There is no evidence that they transmit disease or otherwise harm humans or other animals, despite their nickname pincher bug.

Earwig may also be used as a verb to mean: "to fill the mind with prejudice by insinuations" or "to attempt to influence by persistent confidential argument or talk".[1]

The name earwig comes from Old English eare "ear" and wicga "insect". It is related to the fanciful notion that earwigs burrow into the brains of humans through the ear and therein lay their eggs.[2] This belief, however, is false. Nevertheless, being exploratory and omnivorous, earwigs probably do crawl into the human ear; even if they are only looking for a humid crevice in which to hide, such behavior provides a memorable basis for the name.[3]

Earwigging – also known as eavesdropping – means to overhear another’s conversation.