Health Vocabulary:
The Sheath or Scabbard

Our health vocabulary is filled with interesting Latin roots, including the Latin word vagina. This first declension Latin noun means sheath or scabbard. It occurs five times in Virgil’s Aeneid, referring to the scabbard for Aeneas’s sword.

The Descriptive Power of Latin:

In anatomy and botany, the word vagina is used to describe sheath-like or tube-shaped structures. In female mammals, it is the passage leading from the cervix of the uterus to the vulva. But the vagina of a blade of grass is the sheath surrounding its stem. A vaginant leaf is one connected to its base by a tube-shaped stem.

In classical Latin, vagina has no anatomical meaning. The word was simply adopted by science and medicine and applied to anatomy and botany for its descriptive power.

What’s the Latin meaning of penis?

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