Word of the Day : June 24, 2012


noun, plural borborygmi bor-buh-RIG-mus


: intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas

Did You Know?

Unless you're a gastroenterologist, chances are you never knew there was a name for those loud gurglings your belly sometimes makes. And if in looking at the word, you thought it was just some crazy coinage invented by someone who thought the word matched the rumbling sound it represented, you'd be right, in a way. We picked it up from New Latin, but it traces to the Greek verb "borboryzein," which means "to rumble." It is believed that the Greek verb was coined to imitate the digestive noises made by a stomach. "Borborygmus" has been part of English for at least 250 years; its earliest known use dates from around 1724.


The hall was very quiet as the test-takers concentrated on the task at hand, and Cara hoped that her embarrassing borborygmus went mostly unnoticed.

"'Both men are presenting the classic symptoms [of severe typhoid fever] - fever, sudden prostration, abdominal distress, delirium, right lower quadrant borborygmi.' Springer counted off the symptoms on the fingers of his left hand as if he were on formal ground rounds." - From Robin Cook's 2011 novel Death Benefit

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "verjuice," our Word of the Day from June 10? The answer is ...


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