Word of the Day

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Etymology of 羊膜 (youmaku)

I was intrigued by the combination of kanjis in 羊膜, made up by 羊 (sheep) and 膜 (membrane) to mean amnion. After a little bit of googling, this is what I found:




Which can be translated as: The amnion is the membrane that envelops the fetus, where you find the amniotic fluid.
Nomadic peoples revered the gods by celebrating a festival in which they gutted a sheep, especially a pregnant one, and the bag which they found inside the animal was filled with a fluid around the embryo, from which it got its name.

Youmaku is translated as amnion in English, which derives from Latin Ammon (the name of the ancient Egyptian sun god, the ram with curved horns.

And this is what I found concerning the origin of amnion.

1 comment:

Sparnai said...

The Japanese source confuses Gk. amnion (< ame; bucket) with words such as amnos[he-sheep], amnē, amnis[she-lamb]. It's cute but a folk etymology.