Etymology
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viscera (n.)
"inner organs of the body," 1650s, from Latin viscera, plural of viscus "internal organ," of unknown origin.
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eviscerate (v.)

"remove the entrails of, disembowel," c. 1600 (figurative); 1620s (literal), from Latin evisceratus, past participle of eviscerare "to disembowel," from assimilated form of ex "out" (see ex-) + viscera "internal organs" (see viscera). Sometimes used 17c. in a figurative sense of "to bring out the deepest secrets of." Related: Eviscerated; eviscerating.

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visceral (adj.)

1570s, "affecting inward feelings," from French viscéral and directly from Medieval Latin visceralis "internal," from Latin viscera, plural of viscus "internal organ, inner parts of the body," of unknown origin. The bowels were regarded as the seat of emotion. The figurative sense vanished after 1640 and the literal sense is first recorded in 1794. The figurative sense was revived 1940s in arts criticism.

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splanchnic (adj.)
1690s, "pertaining to the viscera," from medical Latin splanchnicus, from Greek splankhnon (see splanchno-) + -ic.
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numbles (n.)

"edible viscera of animals, entrails of a deer," c. 1300, noumbles, from Old French nombles "loin of veal, fillet of beef, haunch of venison," from Latin lumulus, diminutive of lumbus "loin" (see lumbo-).

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pluck (n.)

c. 1400, plukke, "a pull, a tug, act of plucking," from pluck (v.). Meaning "courage, boldness, determined energy" (1785), originally in pugilism slang, is a figurative use from the earlier meaning "heart, viscera" (1610s) as that which is "plucked" from slaughtered livestock in preparing the carcass for market. This sense also was perhaps influenced by figurative use of the verb in pluck up (one's courage, etc.), attested from c. 1300.

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abdomen (n.)
Origin and meaning of abdomen

1540s, "flesh or meat of the belly" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin abdomen "the belly," a word of unknown origin, Perhaps [OED, Watkins] from abdere "conceal" (from ab "off, away" + PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"), with a sense of "concealment of the viscera," or else "what is concealed" by proper dress. De Vaan, however, finds this derivation "unfounded." Anatomical sense "part of the mammalian body between the diaphragm and the pelvis" is from 1610s. Zoological sense of "posterior division of the bodies of arthropods" by 1725.

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quarry (n.1)

[what is hunted] early 14c., quirre "entrails of deer placed on the hide and given to dogs of the chase as a reward," from Anglo-French quirreie, Old French cuiriee "the spoil, quarry" (Modern French curée), altered (by influence of Old French cuir "skin," from Latin corium "hide"), from Old French corée "viscera, entrails," from Vulgar Latin *corata "entrails," from Latin cor "heart" (from PIE root *kerd- "heart").

The original meaning is obsolete. The sense of "beast of the chase when pursued or slain in a hunt" is by 1610s, also "any object of eager pursuit;" earlier "bird targeted by a hawk or other raptor" (late 15c.).

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bowel (n.)

c. 1300, usually plural, bowels, "human organs of the abdominal cavity," from late 14c. specifically as "human intestines," from Old French boele "intestines, bowels, innards" (12c., Modern French boyau), from Medieval Latin botellus "small intestine," originally "sausage," diminutive of botulus "sausage," a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian.

Transferred sense of "the viscera as the seat of emotions" is from late 14c.; especially "inner parts as the seat of pity or kindness," hence "tenderness, compassion." Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. Bowel movement is attested by 1874.

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hypochondria (n.)

"unfounded belief that one is sick," by 1816; a narrowing from the earlier sense "depression or melancholy without real cause" (1660s); from Middle English medical term ipocondrie "lateral regions of the upper abdomen" (late 14c.). This is from Late Latin hypochondria, from Greek hypokhondria (neuter plural of hypokhondrios), from hypo- "under" (see hypo-) + khondros "cartilage" (in this case, of the false ribs); see chondro-.

The sense "morbid melancholy" reflects the ancient belief that the viscera of the hypochondria (liver, gall bladder, spleen) were the seat of melancholy and the source of the vapors that caused such feelings. The attempt to put it on a scientific bases passes through hypochondriasis. Also see hype (n.). The poet Cowper is an oft-cited example in late 18c. literature. The focus of sense on the particular symptom "unfounded belief that one is sick" seems to begin 1790s with William Cullen, M.D., professor of physic in the University of Edinburgh, who made a specialty of the topic:

A languor, listlessness, or want of resolution and activity, with respect to all undertakings; a disposition to seriousness, sadness, and timidity; as to all future events, an apprehension of the worst or most unhappy state of them; and, therefore, often upon slight grounds an apprehension of great evil. Such persons are particularly attentive to the state of their own health, to every the smallest change of feeling in their bodies; and from any unusual sensation, perhaps of the slightest kind, they apprehend great danger, and even death itself. In respect to these feelings and fears, there is commonly the most obstinate belief and persuasion. [Cullen, "First Lines of the Practice of Physic," Edinburgh, 1791]

Though to Cullen the clinical definition of hypochondria also included physical symptoms and pains as well as these mental delusions. As the old medical beliefs faded, the word dropped from clinical use but remained in popular use for "groundless morbid fear for one's health." In the 1830s hypochondria could mean merely "morbid melancholy," also "apprehension of evil respecting health, without sufficient cause," and "upper abdomen."

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