Who named the anatomy?

What is the medical history behind how the names for anatomical parts came about, and…how did it become universally accepted? Ok, guys, now get those dirty thoughts off your little minds and evolve with me here… :smiley:

I mean “liver”, yuk, who thought up that one? Monty Python? Or, did they just decide it might be edible? 40x :wink:

  • Jinx

Jinx, I strongly recommend that you find an online dictionary, or even the old fashioned print version, and look the names up there.



Merriam-Webster for example.

Another slow day at work, Jinx? :slight_smile:

From the Middle English Lifer, descended from Indo-European root leip-, which means “to stick,” “adhere,” or “fat.” For some reason, “life” and “live” have the same root. Go figure.

The vast majority comes from Greek or Latin, predictably enough. “Femur” simply means “thigh,” for instance.

The question is NOT on the etimology of these words, but who named them? Da Vinci did a lot of work (secretly) on identifying the anatomy. Perhaps it is his words we are using today? But, it’s not like HE was the only one! Maybe I’d be better off asking who are the founding fathers of anatomy?

Jinx, every time we offer to help you learn how to catch your own fish, instead of just sitting back with your plate waiting for the cooked portions to be given to you, you get testy. Come off it!

The terms for major organs of the body pre-date formal anatomical science in the main. Etymology helps you start to figure out the historical links.

Tom named them.


Secondly, it is “etymology” and “you’re,” since we are being both picky and grateful today.

Thirdly, Google. Learn it. Love it. Live it.

You get names from Hippocrates to Aristotle to Celsus to Vesalius to Plato.

Maybe you’d find pages with a lot of information like this one.

Now, who named fruits?

Zagadka, you are good. I tip me hat to you. :slight_smile:

lol I only wish I was that good, thanks. I thought your post had a much nicer tone, though. :slight_smile:

We’re all just soldiers fighting a war against ignorance. Sometimes it is glorious… it is usually a bloody trip to the hell’s door. With Cecil at the head, we’ll follow him through it, if need be.

Parenthetically, many of the names for body parts are mind-numbingly mundane. They translate from Latin into things like “elevator of the upper eyelid” [levator palpebrae superioris] and “flexor of the small finger” [flexor digiti minimi]. The early guys working on this stuff had no benefit of embalming fluid or refrigerators, and they often dug up rotting corpses just to study them. Just imagine the stench. So time was of the essence, and not too much poetry is in there. The sacrum (from sacred) is so named in honor of the “Holy Trinity” because of its triangular shape. The vagus nerve is named “the wanderer” (vagus, as in vagrant, vagabond) because it is the longest one, and seems to wander throughout the body.

My favorite is 17 syllables of pure, unbridled imagination, the longest-named muscle of the body–the “Elvis” muscle: levator labii superioris alaeque nasi (“elevator of the upper lip and wing of the nose”).

The common names of body parts were named by “nobody and everybody”. One might as well ask who invented the word “dog”. I would wager that quite a lot of the technical names for the parts of the body came from Galen, a Roman anatomist. Others were added by Vesalius in the Renaissance, although some, like “clitoris” obviously were named by some Greek investigator.

Don’t believe them. The truth is, I named them all. I’d tell you how I did it, but then I’d have to kill you.

Uhmm, no!
According to the Master in Did Renaldus Columbus discover the clitoris in 1559?, it was indeed Columbus:

I was very impressed with that question about the open-ended universe.

[ul]:stuck_out_tongue: [sup]After this how about the parts of a car?[/sup][/ul]