Monday, February 6, 2012

Today's Word: splanchnic

English: Greater splanchnic nerve, seen in tho...
Image via Wikipedia

I admit that this word caught my eye while I was flipping through the dictionary. I had intended to write about sempiternal, but I'm getting some contradicting definitions from some of my sources.

To me, splanchnic sounds like some Cold War–era Russian ballet style, but it really means "of or relating to the viscera," and comes ultimately from Greek splanchnikos.

What I like about the word is that wonderful cluster of  consonants in the middle. That cluster appears to be shared only by the word staunchness (and Frenchness, if you want to include that as a word).

I looked for some other words that come from the same root, and I couldn't find any, which could make splanchnic, or at least its root, a hapax legomenon.

This word, like many of the oddest-sounding words, is used more often than not in medical fields. The image here, for example, shows the greater splanchnic nerve.

I don't know about you, but I would like to see this word get more popular usage. I would love, for instance, to see Roger Ebert use the word splanchnic while describing the gore in the next Saw movie (how many are we up to now?) when he reviews it.

Then again, that sounds more like something David Foster Wallace would do.

[Almost immediate update: I should have guess that James Harbeck had already taken a taste of splanchnic over at Sesquiotica. His connection of splanchnic to messy-sounding words like splatter and splat is splotch-on spot-on.]
Enhanced by Zemanta