Monday, January 12, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: borborygmus \bor-buh-RIG-mus/

: intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas

Unless you're a gastroenterologist, chances are you never knew there was a name for those loud gurglings your stomach sometimes makes. And looking at the word itself, you might think it's just some crazy coinage invented recently by someone who thought the word matched the rumbling sound. But actually, "borborygmus" has been part of English for at least 240 years; its earliest known use dates from 1762. We picked it up from New Latin, but it traces to the Greek verb "borboryzein," which means "to rumble."

Previous E.T.

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