Word of the Week (178): PECHAN (probability 13016), by David Sutton

PECHAN is a Scots dialect word of unknown origin meaning stomach; it does not feature in Chambers or Collins but comes to us courtesy of the American list. It may seem curious that an American dictionary should feature a Scots dialect word unknown to Chambers, but of course a great many Scots did at one point emigrate to Canada, which is sort of like America.

Other words for the stomach or belly include BAGGIE, BINGY, BOEP, PAINCH, KYTE, BREADBASKET and THARM or THAIRM. Conveniently for those none too sure of their spelling, we also have STOMACK, in the limited sense of 'to have a stomack', i.e. to be pregnant.

A bird's stomach is a GIZZARD or CRAW. With ruminants, of course, the whole stomach thing gets out of control, since they have four. The first stomach is the RUMEN (plural RUMENS or RUMINA). The second stomach is called the RETICULUM (plural RETICULA or RETICULUMS). The third stomach is called the OMASUM (plural OMASA) or PSALTERIUM (plural PSALTERIA); another name for the third stomach is the MANIPLIES, MANYPLIES, MONIPLIES or MONYPLIES (these are singular/plural words). The fourth is called the ABOMASUM (plural ABOMASA) or ABOMASUS (plural ABOMASI). In a calf the fourth stomach, the one used for making rennet, may be called the VELL.

It is worth noting also the adjectives RUMINAL, OMASAL and ABOMASAL.

Animals that avoid all these complications by not having a stomach at all are said to be ACOELOUS.


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