Ever looked at a part of your body and wondered “why the heck did they name it that?” Chances are you’re not the only one. It’s one of the few things they don’t teach you in general biology. You learn the names of the different body parts, you learn their basic functions, you may even learn some more advanced information about them, but you never really find out why they’re called what they’re called. That ends now. Each body part has a name, and each name has a story. Some body parts are more interesting than others, and some stories are more interesting than others as well. Here’s the story behind the names of five different body parts.
Body Part 1: “Coccyx”
This is actually one of our favorite body parts. I mean, who doesn’t love the name coccyx? But where did it come from? The name from your tailbone was originally derived from the Greek work “kokkux”, which means cuckoo…as in the bird. The name was chosen because the curved shape of the bone closely resembles the shape of the cuckoo bird’s beak.
Body Part 2: “Glabella”
Most people don’t even know what the glabella is. It’s that flat area above your nose and between your eyebrows. The name from the Latin word “glabellus”, which means hairless. The name isn’t accurate for everyone, but that’s nothing a good pair of tweezers can’t fix!
Body Part 3: “Lunula”
The Lunula is the crescent shaped white tip of your nails, and it was originally called this because “lun” is the Latin root for moon. Pretty cool, huh?
Body Part 4: “Thyroid”
This butterfly shaped gland in your neck comes from the Greek word “qyreoidh”, which means “long, oblong shield”.
Body Part 5: “Hamstrings”
When butchers smoked hams (thigh meat from pigs), they hung the meat on hooks in the smokehouse by their ropelike tendons. These resemble the muscles running down the backs of your thighs, and are the reason why they were given the name “Hamstrings”.
There’s always something new to be discovered, and our bodies are no exception. To find out about the origins of other body parts’ names, you can check out this article from Reader’s Digest.