Pronounced: MEAL-yuh-riz-uhm (alt: MEE-lee-uh-riz-uhm), noun

Notes: Nice word, but I didn’t know it

Yesterday’s word

The word earwig means, as a noun, “any of various insects of the order Dermaptera, having a pair of pincers at the rear of the abdomen”.

As a verb, it means

  • to influence or bias a person by insinuations
  • to secretly listen to a conversation
First usage

This word may be one of the earliest words; it goes back to before the year 1000

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Old English word earwicga, which is composed of ear and wicga (insect). It was an old belief that this insect crawled into people’s ears to reach their brains. I assume that the noun form was the original, and the idea of an insect in one’s brain (and thus influencing one) became a verb something like influenced as if by an earwig… the insect part was dropped, and the idea of influence was kept. The other verb meaning no doubt comes from the idea that listening to a secret conversation causes influence.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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