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Name Origins Cockroaches

Summary: There are many cockroach species with many names depending upon the country. Cockroach name origins may not control the critter, but knowing the name origins of cockroaches can provide important information about this pest.

Knowing the insect is half the battle in winning control. It's all in the definition. The name œroach, that is. Sure, most people would not think of associating roaches with dining other than in some very negative connotation. But, did you know that there is a fish known as the roach?  It is a small freshwater and brackish water fish native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is very common and is often enjoyed as food. œI'll have a roach and pomme frites, garcon.

Now, we tie in the Spanish word for cockroach, cucaracha, Users of English did not simply borrow the Spanish word, however. ***image1***Instead, they made it conform in appearance to other English words: cock, the word for rooster, and roach, the name of that fish we just talked about.

We do not know exactly why these words were chosen other than their resemblance to the two parts of the original Spanish word. We do know that the first recorded use of the word comes from a 1624 work by the colonist John Smith. The form Smith used, cacarootch, is closer to the Spanish. A form more like our own, cockroche, is first recorded in 1657.

In Germany the roach is sometimes called "Die russische Schabe", The Russian Roach. In Russia it is called the Polish Roach. In America it was called the Crotton Bug because it came to NY about the time the Crotton Aqueduct was built which was denounce in the newspapers because it took so much land by eminent domain. The American Cockroach, likewise is a misnomer since it probably originated in North Africa before becoming a world traveler. It most likely reached the Americas during the early slave trade.

Probably more than you ever wanted to know, but interesting, all the same. When asking about the roach you found in your kitchen it is nice to know if you are dealing with la cucaracha, a cacarootch or even a cockroche.

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