Tweezers - Encyclopedia




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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 dtui, 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 e'tui (0. 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 Diez 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.

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