- any of numerous elongate, nocturnal insects of the order Dermaptera, having a pair of large, movable pincers at the rear of the abdomen.
verb (used with object), ear·wigged, ear·wig·ging.
- to fill the mind of with prejudice by insinuations.
- any of various insects of the order Dermaptera, esp Forficula auricularia (common European earwig), which typically have an elongated body with small leathery forewings, semicircular membranous hindwings, and curved forceps at the tip of the abdomen
verb -wigs, -wigging or -wigged
- informal to eavesdrop
- (tr) archaic to attempt to influence (a person) by private insinuation
(Forficula auricularia), Old English earwicga, from eare (see ear (n.1)) + wicga “beetle, worm,” probably related to wiggle. So called from the ancient and widespread (but false) belief that the garden pest went into people’s ears. Cf. French perce-oreille, German ohr-wurm.