Word Origin & History
O.E. wæps, wæsp, altered (probably by influence of L. vespa) from W.Gmc. *wabis- (cf. O.S. waspa, M.Du. wespe, Du. wesp, O.H.G. wafsa, Ger. Wespe, Dan. hveps), from PIE *wobhes-/*wops- (cf. L. vespa, Lith. vapsa, O.C.S. vosa "wasp," O.Ir. foich "drone"), perhaps from *webh- "weave" (cf. Gk.
hyphos "web," O.E. webb "web," O.N. vefa "to weave"). If that is the correct derivation, the insect would be so called for the shape of its nest. Waspish in the sense of "irascible, spiteful" is attested from 1566. Wasp-waist is recorded from 1870.
acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, 1962, said to have been coined by University of Pennsylvania sociologist E. Digby Baltzell, but first recorded reference is in an article by E.B. Palmore in "American Journal of Sociology."