If there are mosquitos in England, then why no English word for them?

If Britain has mosquitos, why did we end up borrowing a Spanish word for them? why isn’t there a good old Anglo-Saxon word for them like there is for ants, beatles, and butterflies?

Were mosquitos once known by another name? Or was there a time when Britain was mosquito free?

http://www.mosquito.org/mosquito-information/index.aspx Here’s some information on how they got their name (scroll down a bit). Prior to the mid-1500’s, I guess the English called them ‘gnats’.

From the link, I like the Germans terms: the Germans used the name “Stechmucken” or “Schnacke.” Especially the latter.



Does this look like a “midge” to you? :stuck_out_tongue:

I read that there are fewer flying insects in England, such that the English rarely put screens on their windows. Is this true?


As for the use of a foreign word, English does that a lot.

It is true that we rarely screen our windows. It’s never a standard feature. I couldn’t say why we don’t. I wish we did. Then my partner wouldn’t have to have a screaming fit every time a cranefly came in (weird and inexplicable childhood phobia-style).

Is this really unique to Britain? I remember staying at a Hotel in Brugge, and after returning back from a nice evening out, finding hundreds of mosquitoes on my ceiling because I left the windows open. I guess I should’ve noticed the canals…

I agree that it’s a European thing, not an English thing. Just try to find a screened window in Italy, a country not noted for its lack of flying insects.

Isn’t about half of English made up of foreign words anyway?

Since when do we have mosquitoes?!

At least since November 25th, 1940.

Although a simple window screen probably won’t do much to keep them out.

England yes, Scotland no.

Apparently the scourge of the Scottish Midge is all too true. So much so that the first google hit (unless its a spoof) is a “midge forecast”.

True by many first-hand accounts I’ve heard - mainly on the West coast, from late June onwards, clouds of midges so thick as to obscure vision.

I once saw a TV programme about mountain biking in Scotland. The midges were so bad some of the race officials were wearing a sort of bee-keeper’s hood to keep the darned things away.

I’ve seen midges/gnats (the tiny little insects that fly around in the evening, much smaller than mosquitoes), and I do know people who say they sometimes get bitten by them. But I’ve never seen a mosquito anywhere in the UK and personally I’ve never been bitten by any flying insect here. Plus I hardly ever hear anyone talking about getting bitten and I’ve never seen anyone use a window screen or repellents… I’ve always thought it’s one of the main bonuses to this country… we trade terrible weather in exchange for having no mosquitoes.

Gnats are much more common in England than mosquitoes. Gnats are similar to true mosquitoes, but much smaller, and they tend to swarm. Nevertheless, they can still bite you and leave you with a nasty itchy spot. It may be that the word “gnat” was once also applied to true (i.e., big) mosquitoes, but I think most people probably distinguish them now.

I think midges are something different again, though they are also little and will make you itch (and swarm even more than gnats do).

Do the Scottish midges bite? According to Wikipedia, at least, only one family of midges actually bites. Are they the ones that are such a nuisance in Scotland?

ETA: The above two posts weren’t there when I posted, and seem to answer my question. Maybe.