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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Earwig,

  • an insect, generally classified

  • within the order dermaptera.

  • The common name of the insects

  • we know as earwigs is exactly that,

  • common,

  • and is based mainly in folklore.

  • It's rumored that these so-called earwigs

  • crawl into your ear at night

  • and tunnel into your brain,

  • but this is false.

  • Sure, an earwig may, on rare occasion,

  • climb into the ear of an unsuspecting sleeper,

  • but, really, who can blame them?

  • Ear canals are warm and dark,

  • the perfect home for a creepy-crawly like this one.

  • The important thing to remember

  • is that even if an earwig found its way into your ear,

  • it would never eat through your eardrum.

  • Despite the erroneous origins

  • of these trumped-up folk tales,

  • they've been in place a long time.

  • The word earwig comes from the Old English word earwicga,

  • a compound of ear, meaning ear, of course,

  • and wigca.

  • Scholars believe that wigca shares a root

  • with words like wiggle

  • and wag,

  • and that it most likely referred

  • to a creature that moves quickly.

  • Unfortunately for this innocent little insect,

  • even its scientific name gives it a bad rap.

  • Because of the large, pencil-like cerci on the tail

  • and of its abdomen,

  • scientists associate earwigs

  • with a pair of scissors,

  • calling them forficula auricularia,

  • literally little scissors of the ear.

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B1 TED-Ed scissors insect rachael english word wag

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Earwig - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/06/05
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