Earwigs are one of the comparatively species‐poor insect orders. Although various aspects of the phylogeny of this lineage are poorly understood, before the present study, there was a general consensus that Dermaptera comprises two major lineages: the paraphyletic Protodermaptera or ‘lower earwigs’ and the monophyletic Epidermaptera or ‘higher earwigs’, which are nested within the former. Our phylogenomic study based on the analysis of 3247 nuclear single‐copy genes reverses these relationships by placing monophyletic Protodermaptera within paraphyletic Epidermaptera. This phylogenetic reversal among the major earwig lineages is not contradicted by morphological arguments but results in far‐reaching reinterpretations of the dermapteran ground plan. Within Dermaptera, Apachyidae form the sister group to the remaining earwigs which might imply that social behaviour is not part of the earwig ground plan. Our results corroborate the monophyly of Eudermaptera within Epidermaptera and the paraphyly of several traditional families. The monophyly of Protodermaptera is supported by molecular and morphological evidence, although the exact position of Karschiellidae which were not included in the molecular dataset cannot be determined.