Hysterectomy, Hysterotomy, Hysteria, Hysterical
The words for today are HYSTERECTOMY, HYSTEROTOMY, HYSTERIA, HYSTERICAL. Most women know the first two and perhaps are wondering about the connection to the last two words. Most men would fit into the same category.
HYSTERIA is defined as uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear characterizied by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc. The Greek word HYSTER means UTERUS, WOMB. Therefore, HYSTERECTOMY is the excision (cutting out) of the uterus. Greek EC means OUT, and the Greek TOMY means TO CUT. HYSTEROTOMY means INCISION (cutting in) of the uterus. The Greeks characterized the travail of delivering and giving birth with the words HYSTERIA, HYSTERICAL. The emotion and pain and the fear accompanying childbirth causes weeping, shouting and sometimes irrationality in the mother. Consequently, the word for uterus was applied to anyone suffering an outburst of emotion so characterized. Hence, today, we have the word HYSTERICAL meaning PERTAINING TO THE UTERUS.