Odd Words: Borborygmus

BorborygmusI thought I might not find anything I didn’t know on Page 30 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition. But there was a medical word that is actually useful: borborygmus.

Beyond Borborygmus

Again with the repetition: botulin, botulinus, and botulism. To make matters worse, the definition of the first is “the toxin produced by botulinus, the cause of botulism.” So the first word defined the two that followed it. I want to pull my hair out.

There was also “boondoggle” and “boondocks.” These are wonderfully fun sounding words. Plus, it’s an excuse to listen to Billy Joe Royal doing Joe South’s “Down in the Boondocks.” South is best known for his song “Games People Play.” He also wrote “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden.” Yes, he was one of the greats.

Okay, enough about Joe South. Here’s borborygmus:

Bor·bo·ryg·mus  noun  \bȯr-bə-‘rig-məs\

1. the technical word for rumbling or gurgling in the stomach, a natural sound.

Date: early 18th century.

Origin: Latin, from the Greek γουργουρητό, meaning “rumbling.”

Example: Wind is like the human breath, rain like secretions, and thunder like borborygmusCh’ung Wang

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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