Questions tagged [etymology]

This tag is for questions about the *origin and history* of word form and meaning. The [tag:terminology] tag should be used when asking strictly about the meaning or usage of a term. The [tag:nomenclature] tag should be used when simply asking about the naming of species and not the origin of those names.

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Why are hydathodes called hydathodes and not hydrothodes?

I can't seem to find any etymological root for the hyda- in hydathode. I expected the water-relater structure to be called a hydrothode, but it just isn't!
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Etymology of eccentric/concentric contractions

I was wondering if anyone knew why the terms eccentric and concentric were chosen to refer to lengthening and shortening muscle contractions? The basic etymology of the words are to do with ...
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Why plant tissues end in -enchyma?

Many plant tissue types end in the affix -enchyma. Etymology: enkhyma "infusion," from en- "in" + khein "to pour" Examples are parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma (meaning "to pour beside," ...
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What is the etymology of “moura” in Mourasuchus?

Mourasuchus is a unique species of prehistoric crocodile so far discovered. It is a filter-feeder and has shared its habitat with Gryposuchus and the more fearsome Purussaurus in the Miocene Era -- ...
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1answer
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Are there any anatomy books focusing on etymology?

I noticed that I can remember names for a very long time if I now their etymological background, the reason is easy I love etymology, especially when it is connected to mythology. However when I learn ...
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409 views

Why are the posterior and anterior inferior temporal cortex called area TEO and area TE respectively?

I don't understand why you would call them that. How did these names originate/where did these names come from?
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1answer
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Etymology of vimentin [closed]

What is the etymology of the intermediate filament , Vimentin?
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Why is the prefrontal cortex called such?

Pre means before. Frontal means front. What does cortex means? Brain? Is it the front most part of the brain? Is it located at the most frontal part of the brain and that's why it's called ...
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1answer
89 views

Meaning of “U” in “Viral Protein U”

What does U mean in Viral protein U? Viral protein U (Vpu) is a unique gene product of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) with two well-described functions... So does U in this case ...
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1answer
101 views

When is an anatomic entity named “laterale” vs. “lateralis”?

I'm trying to learn the latin names of anatomical entities and I have a hard time remembering whether it's "Os cuneiforme laterale" or "Os cuneiforme lateralis". In that case it's "laterale". But in ...
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Coracoid vs. Coronoid - Etymology/Naming Choice?

The word coracoid (e.g., coracoid process of scapula) literally means "resembling a crow/raven" or "of the form of a crow/raven." In this case, I assume, resembling the hooked characteristic of a ...
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Etymology of PAX proteins

What is the reasoning behind naming proteins first found in Drosophila as paired box? All I could find on internet is that it was first found in Drosophila as a protein with paired domain, but I ...
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Gorgonopsid--What's In a Name?

The Gorgon--a terrifying, monstrous female with hairs made of live snakes and a stare so horrifying that it would literally turn you to stone. The Gorgonopsid--a predatory protomammal that hunted ...
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What is the origin of the name “λ phage”?

The lambda bacteriophage which infects E. coli was first discovered by Esther Lederberg in 1950. However, in the earliest paper on the lambda phage that I could find, I was unable to find the ...
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1answer
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Anemiaceae etymology

What is the etymology of the name Anemiaceae for a family of ferns? I assume that it's from the name Anemia for one of its genera, but that is equally mysterious. Obviously it has no blood, but what ...
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Etymology of the term monilophyte

I would like to know the origin of the term Monilophyta. I know it's from Kenrick and Crane, but where did they get monilo-? It's not in my enormous Liddell and Scott Greek dictionary, nor is there ...
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Why are plant buds called 'eyes'?

I was reading the etymology of the Latinate English verb 'inoculate' which contains the following part that generated the question entitled above: [...] inoculare "graft in, implant a bud or eye of ...
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1answer
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What do the names of Immunoglobulin subtypes mean?

What is the exact meaning and full form of IgM, IgG, IgA, etc? What is the rationale behind the names of the isotypes, if there is one? For example, what does "M" mean in IgM?
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1answer
376 views

What is the difference between Ostracodermi and Placodermi

I looked the word origin and found Placodermi is PLATE SKINNED while Ostracodermi is Shell Skinned. Can someone please explain the difference between being Plate skinned and Shell skinned?
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396 views

Why are Oxyuranus snake species named Taipan?

It is interesting, why are Oxyuranus species called Taipan. The snakes are Australian but taipan looks like of Chinese origin word (it means big shot - important person).
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Does the palate truly house the sense of taste?

Source: Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste. I was reading Etymonline's entry for palatable {adj.}, which cites and derives from palate {noun}: ... ...
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Why is the opposite of plantar flexion called “dorsiflexion”?

Why is the action of flexing the foot so that the toes move anteriorly/superiorly (i.e. in the direction opposite that which they move during plantar flexion) described as "dorsiflexion?" In the same ...
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852 views

What worms devour the body?

I was reading this site which broached comedones, an esoteric word to me; so I thought to look up its etymology which I find exceptionally singular and peculiar (I would have never guessed that the ...
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Plural of “dibamus”

Migrated from English site. Dibamus is a genus of legless lizards in the family Dibamidae, of the infraorder Dibamia. Genera are usually given in singular, so what is the correct plural of Dibamus? ...
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What does the root “phyllum” mean used botanical binomial nomenclature

I often encounter the root "phyllum" in binomial names in botany, but I've had trouble finding an actual definition for this root in any Latin dictionary outside of its taxonomic meaning. From context ...
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284 views

What is the context in which a species gets the name “elegans”

Quite a lot of Latin binomials from different genera contain the same species name. For example, there are a number that reflect the physical properties of the species (Tables have the latin name, a ...
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translation of scientific names [closed]

I am trying to determine the "translated" meanings (not seeking the common names) of different insects, (presently some bees and wasps). Does anyone know of a printed or internet resource that ...
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166 views

To which distinctions does the term “hymenoptera” refer?

Hymenoptera is an order of insects that includes bees, ants, and wasps. A quick search gives the following etymological analysis of the term hymenoptera. hymen (membrane) + pteron (wing) Does the ...
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Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...