Health Terminology: Flat Cake

How did the Roman word for flat cake enter our health terminology?

Although some recommend eating it for its nutrients after child birth, the placenta is not exactly what its Latin name implies. The word placenta means flat cake. For the Romans it referred to any rounded loaf of cake or bread.

The Descriptive Power of Latin:

Science and medicine have adopted this Latin word as a colorful and descriptive name for the organ that provides nourishment to the unborn fetus. During pregnancy, the placenta develops inside the uterus of the mother. It is formed from the mucous membrane of the uterus together with the membranes of the fetus.

Its full Latin name is placenta uterina, or uterine cake. Although the Latin meaning certainly fits the role of providing nourishment, the placenta also helps in the elimination of waste from the fetus.

In addition to its anatomical meaning, placenta has a botanical meaning. The word placenta is used to describe that part of a flowering plant to which the ovules are attached.

What is the Latin meaning of vagina?

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