One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tropical flea, the female of which burrows and lays eggs beneath the host's skin, causing painful sores.
Tunga penetrans, family Tungidae
- ‘This widespread myth has its origin in the southern states where pests with similar names such as jigger flea or the chigoes do attack by burrowing under skin.’
- ‘The ‘committee’ sat on rough logs, ranged on the sand in the open building; and we had carefully to examine our feet for chigoes and exterminate them after each sitting.’
- ‘The chigoe leaps an incredible distance to attach itself to the victim's body, and then burrows under the skin to feed.’
- ‘He's blasé about all the usual stuff - typhoid fever, malaria, chigoes, bots, scabies, and leeches.’
- ‘Sailors traveling with Columbus in 1492 suffered chigoe flea infestation while in Haiti and probably were the first to introduce it to Europe.’
Mid 17th century: from French chique, from a West African language.
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