Sunday, 27 July 2014

Where does 'cul-de-sac' originate?

Many of us live in cul-de-sacs, and those of us who do have a closer link to the intestines than we may have previously thought. 

The precise meaning of 'cul-de-sac'  is 'bottom of the bag' which began as medical term in anatomy for the cecum or caecum which is a pouch at the opening of the large intestine. 'Cul-de-sac' was also used by anatomists to refer to any vessel that was only open at one end. The cecum/caecum is also known as the 'blind gut' because there is only one opening to it. By the 1800s, the term 'cul-de-sac' applied to both literal and figurative dead ends.

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