Body Words

The stories behind many English words are very interesting and sometimes surprising.

Here are 10 words that have something to do with parts of your body. For each word, there are three suggestions about where it came from or what it means. See if you can work out which suggestion is correct.

You can try this by yourself or with a group of friends. You will definitely find it easier if you use a dictionary which has etymologies (word histories)!

1 TORSO comes from a word that has something to do with:

torsion, twisting the body

a torn muscle

a stalk

2 CHEST comes from an old word meaning:

a wooden box

a tree trunk

a container for cheese

3 MUSCLE comes from:

a 1,500-year-old word meaning mollusc

a 1,000-year-old word meaning massage

a 500-year-old word meaning mouse

4 The PUPIL of your eye has this name because:

you use it when you are reading and learning

it is something to do with a puppet

it is a very important part of your head

5 The SKULL used to be known by an old term meaning:

the top-box

the brain-pan

the wisdom-holder

6 LONGE-WOO is a Middle English term which has something to do with:

an affliction in your chest

taking a long time to use your legs to go for a walk because you are tired

a very comfortable chair to sit in when you are tired

7 NEOSE-THURLS keep you alive. How many do you have?

Hint: Try saying it aloud very quickly, in different ways, ignoring some of the letters when you say it.

1

2

10

8 Your THORAX has that name because it was named after:

a Viking weapon

an old Greek word meaning "breastplate"

a word to denote one-third of the size or your body

9 SKONK is a word in the Frisian language, which is closely related to English. Schenkel is a similar word in German. Skonk is related to:

"I'll go by Shanks's pony", an old colloquial saying which means "I'll walk"

an old verb meaning to hit someone on the head

the name of an animal

10 Your BANHUS (an Old English word) is:

your body

a place in a cemetery where you will be buried

the name of a German alchemist who experimented with frogs

Answers to Body Word quiz

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