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gadfly (n.)
also gad-fly, 1620s, "fly which bites cattle," probably from gad (n.) "goad, metal rod," here in the sense of "stinger;" but the sense is entangled with gad (v.) "rove about" (on the notion, perhaps, of the insect's power of flight or of the restlessness of animals plagued by them), and another early meaning of gadfly was "someone who likes to go about, often stopping here and there" (1610s). Sense of "one who irritates another" is from 1640s (equivalent of Latin oestrus; see estrus). "In strictness, only the females are gadflies, the males being smaller and quite inoffensive, living on juices of plants" [Century Dictionary]. Earlier bot-fly, from bot "skin parasite" (late 15c.).
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estrus (n.)
1850, "frenzied passion," from Latin oestrus "frenzy, gadfly," from Greek oistros "gadfly; breeze; sting; anything which makes one mad, mad impulse," perhaps from a PIE *eis- (1), forming words denoting passion (see ire). First attested 1890 with specific meaning "rut in animals, sexual heat." Earliest use in English (1690s) was for "a gadfly." Related: Estrous (1900).
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Io 
in Greek mythology, daughter of the river god Inachus, she was pursued by Zeus, who changed her to a heifer in a bid to escape the notice of Juno, but she was tormented by a gadfly sent by Juno. The Jovian moon was discovered in 1610 and named for her by Galileo.
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hornet (n.)

Old English hyrnet, hurnitu "large wasp, beetle, gadfly," probably from Proto-Germanic *hurz-nut- (source also of Old Saxon hornut; Middle Dutch huersel, Dutch horzel (with diminutive suffix); Old High German hornaz, German Hornisse "hornet"), from a PIE imitative (buzzing) root; compare Old Church Slavonic srusa, Lithuanian širšu "wasp." On this theory, the English word (as well as German Hornisse) was altered by influence of horn, to suggest either "horner" (from the sting) or "horn-blower" (from the buzz). Compare also Old Saxon hornobero "hornet," literally "trumpeter." Figurative of troublesome and persistent attacks.

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ire (n.)

c. 1300, from Old French ire "anger, wrath, violence" (11c.), from Latin ira "anger, wrath, rage, passion," from PIE root *eis- (1), forming various words denoting passion (source also of Greek hieros "filled with the divine, holy," oistros "gadfly," originally "thing causing madness;" Sanskrit esati "drives on," yasati "boils;" Avestan aesma "anger;" Lithuanian aistra "violent passion").

Old English irre in a similar sense is unrelated; it is from an adjective irre "wandering, straying, angry," which is cognate with Old Saxon irri "angry," Old High German irri "wandering, deranged," also "angry;" Gothic airzeis "astray," and Latin errare "wander, go astray, angry" (see err (v.)).

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