bowel c.1300, from O.Fr. boele "intestines, bowels, innards" (12c., Mod.Fr. boyau), from M.L. botellus "small intestine," originally "sausage," dim. of botulus "sausage," a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian, from PIE *gwet-/*geut- "intestine" (Cf. L. guttur "throat," O.E. cwið, Goth. qiþus "belly, womb," Ger. kutteln "guts, chitterlings"). Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as SPLEEN (Cf. spleen)) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. BOWEL MOVEMENT (Cf. Bowel movement) is attested by 1874.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Bowel — Bow el, n. [OE. bouel, bouele, OF. boel, boele, F. boyau, fr. L. botellus a small sausage, in LL. also intestine, dim. of L. botulus sausage.] [1913 Webster] 1. One of the intestines of an animal; an entrail, especially of man; a gut; generally… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bowel — Bow el, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Boweled} or {Bowelled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Boweling} or {Bowelling}.] To take out the bowels of; to eviscerate; to disembowel. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bowel — ► NOUN 1) the intestine. 2) (bowels) the deepest inner parts of something. ORIGIN Latin botellus little sausage …   English terms dictionary

  • bowel — [bou′əl] n. [ME bouel < boele < OFr buele < ML botellum, intestine < L botellus, dim. of botulus, sausage, via Oscan or Umbrian < IE base * gwet , a swelling > OE cwitha, womb] 1. an intestine, esp. of a human being; gut usually …   English World dictionary

  • bowel — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ large, small ▪ irritable ▪ irritable bowel syndrome VERB + BOWEL ▪ empty, evacuate …   Collocations dictionary

  • Bowel — Another name for the intestine. The small bowel and the large bowel are the small intestine and large intestine, respectively. The word bowel originated from the Latin botulus meaning sausage because the outside of the intestine looked like a… …   Medical dictionary

  • bowel — UK [ˈbaʊəl] / US noun [countable] Word forms bowel : singular bowel plural bowels the part of your body where faeces (= solid waste) are formed. This word is usually used in the plural, except in medical language cancer of the bowel • the bowels… …   English dictionary

  • bowel — The long, tube shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. The bowel has two parts, the small bowel and the large bowel. Also called the intestine …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • bowel — bow|el [ˈbauəl] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: boel, from Medieval Latin botellus, from Latin botulus; BOTULISM] 1.) bowels [plural] the system of tubes inside your body where food is made into solid waste material and through which it …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bowel — noun 1 bowels (plural) the system of tubes inside your body where food is made into solid waste material and through which it passes out of your body; intestine: move/empty your bowels (=get rid of solid waste from your body) 2 (singular) one… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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