ETYMOLOGY OF SOME ANATOMICAL TERMS.
The word etymology means origin and historical background of the words. Very often, almost on dayly basis we use some terms having known little or none of their actual meaning. At times they are very appropriate, at times not, many of theme derive from Greek mythology, Roman history, Latin language etc. This paper is part of a book we are in a process of writing on the above titled paper as well as to include some author’s names, often used in teaching Gross and clinical anatomy. The aims and objections of this paper are:
1. To make a bridge between the history and medical terminology as a whole and the anatomical terminology in particular.
2. To make our teaching more interesting and more understandable similarly to the spices we put so that to increase our appetite.
Of course due to the time limit we shall include, only some of those terms which really have interesting background in alphabetical way.
Adam’s apple; Pommum Adami; Laryngeal prominence.
According to the Bible, when Eve gave Adam the forbidden apple, a piece of it stuck in Adam’s throat.
Adenoids; abnormally enlarged persistent pharyngeal tonsil, Aden, adenis in Greek means gland, adenoids-gland like.
The Greeks wrongly considered the lymph nodes as glands.
Achilles tendon; Tendo calcanei. Achilles – Greek hero of the Trosjan war, son of Peleus and Thetis. He has been the fastest in running and killed Hector one of the famous Trojan warriors. Finally Paris (the man who snatched the Greek queen Helen) killed Achilles by poisoned arrow which hit his heel. The
Achilles mother Thetis dipped him as a newborn in the river Styx (the river of the underground world) so that to make him invulnerable. The heel by which she held him did not wet and remained the only vulnerable spot.
Achilles heel-the weakest point.
Amonian horn; Corn Amonius; or pes hippocampi Derives from – Amon Ra – The main (supreme) Egyptian God, pictured as heaving ram horns on his head or crown (tiara)
The pes hippocampi looks like ram’s horn.
Arachne – in Greek spider
Arachna – young Greek woman, very skillful weaver. She competed with the Goddess Atina Palada and woved better material. The latter provoked the anger of the Goddess who turned her into everweving spider.
Arachoid mater, arachnoid granulations are terms derived from Arachna.
Atlas – Greek Myhtology
Son of Japet and Climena and brother of Prometeus. He ahs been punished by Zews (the supreme Greek God) to hold the globe on his shoulders because he took the side of the Titans in their war against the Gods; The Titans have been Giants who at one time ruled the world. The C1 holds the head (globe).
Caput medusa- characteristical snake like enlarged veins on the anterior abdominal wall in case of portal hypertension. According to the Greek Mythology Medusal was one of the three sisters.Gorgons – Fortune tellers. She insulted the Godess Atina Palada who maid her snake haired and gave her the devil’s power to turn to stone anyone who looked at her. At a wartime in Greek history the soldiers drew pictures of head of Medusa on their shield so that to scare their enemies.
Carotid- the verb caroo means to fall asleep.
Coitus ante protem
Sexual intercourse, before the gate =
Sex only within the vestibule of vagina.
Corona mortis - Crown of death –
Anastomosis between r. obturatorius of r. pubicus of a.abturatoria. At times the anastomosis is so thick that it may directly continue as a. obturatoria anomata. Often corona mortis is endangered in case of femoral or inguinal herniotomi v Clitoris from Freek # Kleitorizo-to tickle.
David – Lyra of David - commisura fornicis.
According to the Bible David was a prophet and second king of Israel. As youngster he defeated the giant Goliat by using sling and become a favourite and later son in law of King Saul. David played on lyra (Harp) and sung songs, composed by him to his father in law.
There is a great similarity between the harp and the diverging crura of the fornix and the transversally passing commissural fibers and the strings.
Diverticulum (Latin) – means diversion, by pass.
Unappropriate term we use to indicate blind endings of hollow internal organs.
Dura mater; durus, durum – hard, toiugh; Toughor hard mother pia mater – delicate, soft, gentle mother.
Perhaps, as the mother gently embraces her baby in brother to protect him, in the same way the pia matter embraces the brain and spinal cord.
The dura mater is related to the hard skull bones, so it is called "hard" mother.
Ependyma -0 upper cloth
Fabella - bean; small ionconstant sesamoid bone between the lat. Condyle of the femur and the lateral head of gestrocnemius. Looks as bean.
Genital – giving or in charge of birth Genita – the nickname of the godess Diana who was believed to be the patroness of the birth. She is also a godess of hunting.
Glabella – the space between the root of the nose and the heads of the eyebrows.
It means hairless or bold however not always the glabella is hairless.
Gubernoculum – derived from gubernare – to rull, to direct. Governor derives from it.
As far as the governor rules and directs, the gubernaculums testis directs the descensus of the testis.
Hippocampus – sea hrose; Greek mystic sea monster with horse head and body and fish tail. The present sea horse is a few inches in length and is the only case when the male takes the fertilized ovum and carries the pregnancy; Gyrus hippocampi and pes hippocampi look like sea horse.
Hymen – Greek God of marriage perhaps the intact hymen is the guarantor of successful marriage.
IRIS – Dervies from Irida a Godess of Rainbow. She and her daughrters iridiae delivered messages from gods to gods or from gods to people. Irida was pictured as a bird with multicoloured feathers. Due to some wrongly delivered messages. Zews punished the iridiae turning them into rainbows. Iris is one of the most appropriate terms because the colour of varies as much as the spectral coloures of the rainbow.
Lamina papyracca – orbital plate of ethmoidal bone.
Papyrus – kind of paper in ancient Egypt. The orbital lamina is as thin as paper.
Lamina vitrea – inner lamino of the flat bones of the skull, which is much thinner than the outer and more fragile Vitreum-glass; It is as fragile as glass.
Leptos Greek – thin, slender, soft.
Leptomeninges – soft coverings of the brain i.e. Pia and arachnoid.
Lympha – Greek – clean water
Unappropriate term because the lymph is yellowish and somehow opaque.
Mamma – mother, perhaps the mammary gland is the true mother feeding the
Maxilla – mala, maxis, (Latin) – jaw maxilla – small jaw, compared to the mandibule.
Mellos-Greek – Limb
Hemimelia, Phocomelia, Amelia – congenital diseases affecting the limbs.
Massenter – massaoma to chew the true muscle of mastication.
Mons Veneris; Mons pubis; Venus hill.
According to Greek Mythology – Venus (Aphrodita who was born in the town of paphos, presently Cyprus) has been a goddess of beauty and love. She has been very unfaithful spouse of the crippled (limping) god Hephest (Vulcan) she had very promiscuital behaviour having lowers not only amongst the gods but with simple men including slaves. Whenever Vulcan (The god of the fire) caught Venus in misbehaving he erupted as Volcano presently veneral diseases is after called S.T.D.
Musculus protector virgi – gracillis muscle.
Due to the origin of the gracillis muscle from the inferior pibic rami deep to the labia majora it was thought that it protected the virginity, which was proved not true.
Nymphae-minor pudendal labia.
Being situated on the dies of the clitbris and they external urethral orifice they direct to some extent the stream of the urine.
Nympha-Greek godess of the springs, rivers and lakes who was able to direct and change the direction of the streams.
Olene - Greek – elbow.
Olescranon derives from it.
Patella – bowl unappropriate term we call in kne cap.
Phrenic - diaphr. Nerve.
Unappropriate term. Phren – Greek –means mind, soul i.e. cyclophrehia, oligophrenia, schizophrenia sense.
Pleura-Greek-porimarily rib. Later
It was referred to the viscera
and parietal pleurae (coverings) as we know them.
Proximal-the nearest; proxima-the nearest to the earth star.
Pudendum, verb pudere-to be ashamed. We often use the term genital.
Risorius – verb rider to laugh at
Saphenous – safin-old jewish – hidden; perhaps the saphenous veins are hidden
within the superficial fascia and not seen unless varicosed.
Semen, Lat. Verb semere-sow
Scrotum-Scroteus-skin, leather-unappropriate term bicos many scrotal sac layers. Seratinus-delayed; the other name of wisdom tooth.
Sperm, greek verb spermo-sow.
Tendo, tensor-Greek-verb tendere-stretch, pull.
Thenar-Greek-palm unappropriate termi; presently we refer thenar to the thumb
Trachea-rugged, or rough arteria unappropriate term.
In conclusion: In addition to be completing partially the aims and objectives
of this paper as mentioned in our introduction and abstract we refer to the
history, because those who know the history, may better understand the present
and plan the future.