Updated: March 30, 2023

Cockroaches are one of the most reviled insects in the world. They are often associated with filth, disease, and unsanitary conditions. But have you ever wondered where the name “cockroach” came from? In this article, we will explore the origins of this infamous insect’s name.

Etymology of “Cockroach”

The word “cockroach” has an interesting etymology that can be traced back to the Spanish language. The Spanish word for cockroach is “cucaracha.” It is thought that this word derives from the Latin word “coccinus,” which means “scarlet-colored.”

Another theory suggests that the name comes from a combination of two words: “cock,” which was a common term for insects in old English, and “roach,” which was used to describe freshwater fish that resembled the insect.

Early References to Cockroaches

Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, and they are thought to have originated in Africa. The earliest known reference to cockroaches can be found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, which depict these insects scurrying around in kitchens and food storage areas.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with cockroaches, and they believed that these insects had medicinal properties. In fact, cockroaches were used in traditional Chinese medicine as early as 2300 BC.

Cockroaches in Modern Times

Today, cockroaches are found all over the world, and there are more than 4,000 species of these insects. They are known for their ability to survive in almost any environment, and they can even survive for several weeks without food or water.

Despite their resilience, cockroaches are still considered pests in many parts of the world. They are known to spread disease-causing bacteria, and their presence is often a sign of unsanitary living conditions.


The origin of the word “cockroach” is a fascinating topic that sheds light on the history and evolution of these insects. Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that cockroaches have played an important role in human society for thousands of years.


Q: Are all cockroaches the same?

A: No, there are over 4,000 species of cockroaches, and they vary in size and appearance.

Q: Why are cockroaches considered pests?

A: Cockroaches are considered pests because they can spread disease-causing bacteria and cause allergic reactions in some people.

Q: Can cockroaches survive a nuclear explosion?

A: While it is true that cockroaches are very resilient, they cannot survive a nuclear explosion. This is a common myth that has been debunked by scientists.

Q: How can I get rid of cockroaches in my home?

A: The best way to get rid of cockroaches is to keep your home clean and free of clutter. You can also use insecticides and traps to eliminate these pests. If you have a severe infestation, it may be necessary to contact a pest control professional.