Ohrwurm (Christian Kaernbach )

Subject: Ohrwurm
From:    Christian Kaernbach  <chris(at)PSYCHOLOGIE.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE>
Date:    Tue, 23 Jan 2001 10:47:55 +0100

> This may or may not be of interest, but in German a song stuck in your > head is called an "Ohrwurm" (lit. "earwig"). Very descriptive! :) The Oxford Etymology Dictionary says earwig is ear-beetle with an Old English word for beetle, from wiggle, describing its movement. No connections to wig, short for periwig, from peruke, from it. perucca. Earwig/Ohrwurm/perce-oreille describes an insect (dermaptera) which is thought to penetrate the ear. Kluge (German Etymology Dictionary) says that these insects - dried and pulverized - were used in ancient Greek medicine to treat deseases of the ear. When this type of treatment got forgotten, popular etymology interpreted it as doing harm to the ear. Maybe earwig treatment could solve the tune-stuck-in-the-head problem. - Christian Kaernbach

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