earwig (plural earwigs)

  1. Any of various insects of the order Dermaptera that have elongated bodies, large membranous wings folded underneath short leathery forewings and a pair of large pincers protruding from the rear of the abdomen.
    • 2002, Maurice Burton, Robert Burton, Nuthatch, entry in International Wildlife Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=E3jeDU7KuhEC&pg=PA1761&lpg=PA1761&dq=%22earwig%22%7C%22earwigs%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=AeiF894ffJ&sig=bFaymHNix7962OrCI8qgrBrJp10&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tMCHUP2iBvCciAeggYGYCQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22earwig%22%7C%22earwigs%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 1762],
      Nuthatches search the crevices of bark at other times during the year for insects, including beetles, earwigs, flies and bugs, and they open galls (swellings in plants) to extract grubs.
    • 2008, John L. Capinera (editor), European Earwig, Forficula auricularia, Linnaeus (Dermaptera: Forficulidae), entry in Encyclopedia of Entomology, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=i9ITMiiohVQC&pg=PA1370&lpg=PA1370&dq=%22earwig%22%7C%22earwigs%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=VWDkMviTVQ&sig=ykiXN2h7gflY88xPlPLpHyYKvy8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tMCHUP2iBvCciAeggYGYCQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22earwig%22%7C%22earwigs%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 1370],
      Adults can use the cerci in defense, twisting the abdomen forward over the head or sideways to engage an enemy, often another earwig. Earwigs are nocturnal, spending the day hidden under leaf debris, in cracks and crevices, and in other dark locations.
  2. One who whispers insinuations; a secret counsellor.
  3. A flatterer.
  • (insect of order Dermaptera) forkytail (dialectal), pincher bug
Translations Verb

earwig (earwigs, present participle earwigging; past earwigged, past participle earwigged)

  1. (transitive) To fill the mind of with prejudice by insinuations.
  2. (transitive) To attempt to influence by persistent confidential argument or talk.
    • 1831 November, Edward Lancaster, Appearances, The Ladies′ Museum, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=63AEAAAAQAAJ&pg=RA1-PA202&lpg=RA1-PA202&dq=%22earwigging%22%7C%22earwigged%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=J6jrWe1Hh2&sig=9yeryVmQozQvNZvJkpzPQqzRFi4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=u9SHUOXDDY-fiQfgjIHQCA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22earwigging%22%7C%22earwigged%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 202],
      In the interim, rest assured that Mr. Atherstone is by no means your friend, for he was perpetually earwigging poor Sir Rowland.
    • 1866 February 23, South Australian Parliament, Debates in the Houses of Legislature: September 29 1865—March 16 1866, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=UKA0AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA3-PT409&lpg=RA3-PT409&dq=%22earwigging%22%7C%22earwigged%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=gZ7iIgnIN9&sig=yjtppBhxMP3CekQP0tLSevjfYaM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=u9SHUOXDDY-fiQfgjIHQCA&redir_esc=y page 1127],
      The hon. gentleman Mr. Reynolds had expressed his fears that the Government would allow themselves to be earwigged out of the money.
  3. (intransitive, UK, slang) To eavesdrop.
    • 2007, Cat Rambo, Jeff VanderMeer, The Strange Case of the Lovecraft Café, The Surgeon′s Tale and Other Stories, [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=BBEukkVQS4AC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=%22earwigging%22%7C%22earwigged%22+-intitle:%22%22+-inauthor:%22%22&source=bl&ots=L_zVgaYev1&sig=LASWZSm72rZIXcNM1SSdguS-eSQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=u9SHUOXDDY-fiQfgjIHQCA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22earwigging%22%7C%22earwigged%22%20-intitle%3A%22%22%20-inauthor%3A%22%22&f=false page 89],
      The nameless earwigging writer scrawled in his notebook that “MS and CT also considered that such low life would have a greater pride and satisfaction in life if they could themselves be cooked and served still bleating to rich diners.″
  4. (transitive, UK, slang) To eavesdrop on.

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