Saturday, April 11, 2009

Never Kick a Man in His Orchid

I’m posting this from the land of slow internet and clogged-up computers, so I’ll cut to the chase: the word of the week.
orchidectomy (OR-kid-EK-te-mee) — noun: removal of the testicles.
Yes, as if this horrific procedure needed another euphemistic name beyond gelding, neutering or fixing, we have orchidectomy, as in, “My name is Donald and I was the victim of an orchidectomy.” Even knowing what the word means, I’d hope against hope that Donald’s worst draw of luck would be the theft of his flowers and not his “man flower.”

keep your eyes on your own orchids, wild thingAlign Center
The word seems to be a less common and less fun variant of orchiectomy, which also names the unkindest cut of all. Don’t know if the “D” dropped in order to facilitate pronunciation or to make the term more similar to orchid, which also has its roots in all things testicular. If it happens to be the former, then I’m miffed in the same way I get when people say cremains. This word refers to an awful enough thing that we shouldn’t make it easier to say, if we must say it at all.

Regardless of what I think, Toothpaste for Dinner’s take on term uses the more popular spelling:

As I said, both orchid and orchidectomy both descend, so to speak, from the testicles — specifically the Greek orkhis, which means “testicle.” In case your wondering what the connection between orchids and male sex organs is, the American Heritage Dictionary states that the orchid got its name from the fact that its tubers resemble testicles. Strange, isn’t it, that the sex-organ looking things that grow on the roots would get to name the plant when the colorful, sex organ-looking flowers that grow on the visible part of the plant would get skipped over. I’ll refer back to my post on the obscene sexiness of orchids and how my orchid snapshot ended up as the lead image on an column about vaginoplasty.

All this makes me even more suspicious of the old ladies who fanatically collect and grow orchids. Apologies to your grandmother.

Previous words of the week:

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