• Earwig
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n earwig any of numerous insects of the order Dermaptera having elongate bodies and slender many-jointed antennae and a pair of large pincers at the rear of the abdomen
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Adult earwigs can float in water for up to 24 hours
    • Earwig A whisperer of insinuations; a secret counselor.
    • Earwig (Zoöl) Any insect of the genus Forficula and related genera, belonging to the order Dermapteraformerly Euplexoptera). They have elongated bodies and a prominent pair of curved pincers at the rear of their abdomen.
    • Earwig (Zoöl) In America, any small chilopodous myriapod, esp. of the genus Geophilus. See Geophilus
    • v. t Earwig ēr"wĭg` To influence, or attempt to influence, by whispered insinuations or private talk. "No longer was he earwigged by the Lord Cravens."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n earwig The popular English name of all the cursorial orthopterous insects of the family Forficulidæ, representing the suborder Euplexoptera, which has several genera and numerous species. There is a popular notion that these insects creep into the ear and cause injury to it. They are mostly nocturnal and phytophagous, though some are carnivorous. They have filiform, many-jointed antennæ, short, veinless, leathery upper wings, under wings folded both lengthwise and crosswise, anal forceps, and no ocelli. The common earwig is Forficula auricularis; the great earwig is Labidura gigantea; the little earwig is Labia minor. Another species is Spongophora brunneipennis.
    • n earwig In the United States, the common name of any of the small centipeds, such as are found in houses in most of the States.
    • n earwig One who gains the ear of another by stealth and whispers insinuations; a prying informer; a whisperer.
    • earwig To gain the ear of and influence by covert statements or insinuations; whisper insinuations in the ear of against another; fill the mind of with prejudice by covert statements.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Earwig an insect which was supposed to creep into the brain through the ear: a flatterer
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. eárwicga,; eáre, ear + wicga, beetle, worm: cf. Prov. E. erri-wiggle,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. éare; cf. L. auris, Ger. ohr.


In literature:

A piece of bark, quickly pulled off, discovered a quantity of those insects commonly called earwigs.
"Adventures of a Young Naturalist" by Lucien Biart
Earwigs were also remarked.
"Fibble, D. D." by Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
I got down and danced about all night, and she thought I was earwigs.
"Soap-Bubble Stories" by Fanny Barry
I wonder what the cause of earwigs is.
"Daisy's Aunt" by E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson
He was more like an earwig.
"Olive in Italy" by Moray Dalton
There was a man waiting us in Prestongrange's study, whom I distasted at the first look, as we distaste a ferret or an earwig.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 11 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Mushrooms will wait, but the sooner you catch beetles, and earwigs, and ants, and grubs, the better.
"Bear Brownie" by H. P. Robinson
Earwigs and slugs must be trapped and destroyed.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 3" by Various
I don't believe even earwigs would care for it.
"Rossmoyne" by Unknown
He's caught slugs upon slugs, worms upon worms, earwigs upon earwigs.
"A Christmas Child" by Mrs. Molesworth

In poetry:

‘Ow!’ screamed Beverley Nichols
‘Take it away! It tickles!
You know I simply can’t bear
An earwig loose in my hair.’
"Clerihew – Beverley Nichols" by Edmund Clerihew Bentley

In news:

Two other factoids of interest about earwigs : Female earwigs show an instinct very rare in insects.
I have yet to meet anyone who likes earwigs .
Technically speaking, earwigs are pretty ugly.
If you dislike earwigs and notice one, it will at first seem much larger.
Score 1 for earwig 's odd claw.
Small male earwigs with severely curved right claws have an advantage in fighting.
How do the earwig 's pincerlike appendages help it.
The earwig 's other notable defense is emitting a foul-smelling brown liquid.
Similarly, entomologists say, earwigs do not crawl into the ears of people except by accident and are certainly not able to penetrate the brain, as was once believed.
We handle ants, roaches, silverfish, earwigs, spiders, termites and other unwanted "guests".
Also, what does slug damage look like?— TO, N.Y. Earwigs and caterpillars also chew such holes, so look for silvery, slimy trails on the ground to confirm the culprit was a slug .
HOUSE WRENS are feisty critters, very territorial and dedicated to protecting their nest and the associated habitats where they eat insects and spiders, including beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, flies, leafhoppers and springtails.