Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 491 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TWEEZERS, a small instrument like a pair of tongs, used for picking up minute objects, extracting thorns or splinters from the flesh, &c. Etymologically a " tweezer " is an instrument contained in a " tweeze " or a small case containing several instruments, " tweeze " being a plural form of " twee," an adaptation of French etui, a sheath-case or box to put things in. Why one particular instrument out of the case should be called " tweezers " is not certain; Skeat suggests a possible connexion of ideas with the obsolete " twich," " twitch " (Ger. zwicken, to nip, fasten, Eng. " tweak "), or reference may be made to the M. Eng. twisel or twissel, a pair of objects (twi-, two). The derivation of the French etui (O. Fr. estuy) is doubtful. Cognate forms are Span. estuche, Port. estojo, Ital. astuccio, formerly stuccio or stucchio, all with the same meaning of a small case for instruments such as scissors, knife, &c. Skeat supports Die- in his connexion with the modern German dialect Stauche, cuff, that part of the sleeve where such small objects were carried. Others connect the word with Lat. studium, a place where one studies, hence a place where objects of study are carried, a somewhat far-fetched sense development.
End of Article: TWEEZERS

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