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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR TOES!

About thirty years ago, a John Phillips pointed out in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine  (1991, vol. 324, no. 7, p.497) that while the fingers all have Latinate names, no such distinction had been given to the toes except for the big toe or hallux. The others were simply numbered.

To remind you, the names of the digits of the hand are:

  • Thumb - digitus pollicis
  • Index Finger - digitus indicis
  • Middle Finger - digitus medius 
  • Ring Finger - digitus annularis
  • Little Finger - digitus minimus

To rectify this, and to preclude anatomical ambiguity in clinical situations, he proposed the toes be given the following names:

  • Big Toe or Hallux - porcellus fori
  • Second Toe - porcellus domi
  • Third Toe - porcellus carnivorus
  • Fourth Toe - porcellus non voratus
  • Fifth Toe - porcellus plorans domum

 Quod conservis callidus.

51 comments:

  1. My Latin is a bit rusty but I am sure the fifth one said Wee, wee, wee all the way home

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  2. Odd that this had not been done centuries ago. I would have sworn (if asked in a pub quiz, for instance) that there are medical/scientific names for our toes, too.
    I'm all for equal rights, so I can only applaud the initiative!

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    1. Satis recte. A re vitae et mortis.

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    2. It seems you don't have this rhyme in Germany:
      Dieses kleine Schweinchen ging auf den Markt
      Dieses kleine Schweinchen blieb zu Hause
      Dieses kleine Schweinchen hatte Roastbeef
      Dieses kleine Schweinchen hatte keine
      Dieses kleine Schweinchen weinte "Wee wee wee"
      den ganzen Weg nach Hause

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  3. I have a confession to make. My porcellus plorans domums are very small. They cling to my porcellus non voratuses like mussels on rocks. They are also ugly with tiny little nails. I wonder if it is possible to get porcellus plorans domum transplants on the NHS? After all, NHS workers have so little to do these days.

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  4. My porcellus domi has a nasty habit of sticking up in the middle and thus getting a callous on the joint. Phew - that sounds so much better thsn saying I have got a corn on my toe.

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  5. This little piggy thought that was very funny.

    The finger names are interesting, too. I teach the guitar, and classical guitar convention refers to the right-hand thumb and fingers by the Spanish names for them: pulgar, indice, medio and anular - referred to in the music by the letters p, i, m and a.

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    1. Interesting - haven't come across that as I've never learnt classical technique, but it looks like it is exactly the same except in Spanish.

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    2. This is the first time I have understood that rhyme.

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    3. Do things usually have to be explained for you in Latin?

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  6. My little wee wee one often gets blistered as it is squashed triangular. I can still sing 3 blind mice in Latin after 6o plus years.

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    1. A truly privileged education! I've had to look it up.
      tres mures, tres mures,
      caeci currunt, caeci currunt,
      sequuntur agricolae uxorem
      quae caudas secuit cultro. rem
      quis vidit magis mirablem
      quam hos mures?

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  7. You would think they would toe the line and not forget the toes.

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  8. S we all own two carnivorous third toes? yuk...

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  9. Some of the comments sound like too much information to me.

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  10. Replies
    1. I'm not sure everyone gets it, or they are very poker-faced.

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  11. Your Latin far exceeds my own (not a difficult task). Don't remember any Latin toe talk in my (very old) Catholic lessons. :)

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    1. I'm a blustering charlatan. We were one of the first years at our school that did not have compulsory Latin.

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  12. I am happy to know that our toes have not been left out! You have a very informative blog Tasker! ; )

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  13. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! all the way home.

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    Replies
    1. For goodness' sake be quiet and suck a dummy!

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  14. mea, semper frigus, porcos

    Confession time: I used a translater. So you can tell me what I actually said.

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    Replies
    1. Pigs are always cool? (So did I! )

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    2. my pigs are always cold. Wool socks were made for the likes of me.

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  15. Hahahahaha....very funny!

    I tried singing Mica, mica, parva stella but the predictive text feature wanted to change parva to larva....

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  16. Do you know this post was my most interesting read today x

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  17. I'm amazed that the medical profession, which has come up with names for the bit in your nose that divides the nostril, the part of your ear that sort of wraps around, etc., has not come up with toe names. Maybe they wouldn't do it because podiatrists are at the foot of the pecking order..

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  18. quod est onus in renibus dingoes

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    Replies
    1. You've got me there with kidney dingoes.

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    2. You are correct, I should have gone for genitive!

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    3. I just about got the hang of nominative and accusative in German, but never got to grips with genitive and dative. I didn't do Latin.

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  19. Have a healthy and happy and peaceful one xxxx

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    Replies
    1. A belated thankyou. I'll read up how yours was.

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  20. That was as cleverly droll a post as I've read this year. As far as toes go every day is, apparently a schoolday pseudo Latin lesson. My Latin is nowadays limited to things I learned by rote over the years or from my Mother (who thought grammar in Latin). I do recall though that non omnia possumus omne sumus.

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    1. No, one can't know everything. I don't know Latin, for a start, but when I first saw this many years ago in equally droll form, it was like with Thelma, the "carnivorus" did not look quite right to me, and then I saw domi/domum like domicile, and plorans like the French to cry, and fori reminded me of foraging and voratus like voracious and the penny dropped and it amused me for weeks. The note I made at the time surfaced again recently, and as there are few mentions of it on the internet it seemed a fun thing to re-post.

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  21. I knew 'hallux', unfortunately, as I've been contending with hallux limitus for some time now!

    Happy Holidays from California, Bea x

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    1. That sounds painful and frustrating. I'm beginning to suffer from Latin onustum.

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