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Etymology 1Edit

a wasp

From Middle English wasp, waspe, waps, from Old English wæsp, wæps (wasp), from Proto-Germanic *wapsō, from Proto-Indo-European *wobʰseh₂ (wasp), from *webʰ- (weave) (referring to the insect's woven nests). Compare Dutch wesp, German Wespe, Danish hveps. The metathesis of s and p reflects a process of some generality in Old English, cf. ascian ~ acsian (to ask); here, Latin vespa (wasp) (also a cognate) may have helped tilt the scales in favour of -sp.


wasp (plural wasps)

  1. Any of many types of stinging flying insect resembling a hornet.
  2. (entomology) Any of the members of suborder Apocrita, excepting the ants (family Formicidae) and bees (clade Anthophila).
    1. Any of the members of the family Vespidae.
  3. A person who behaves in an angry or insolent way, hence waspish.
Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Originally an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.


wasp (plural wasps)

  1. Alternative letter-case form of WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)

Further readingEdit