placenta (n.)

1670s of plants, 1690s of mammals, from Modern Latin placenta uterina "uterine cake" (so called 16c. by Italian anatomist Realdo Colombo), from Latin placenta "a cake, flat cake," from Greek plakoenta, accusative of plakoeis "flat," from plax "flat, flat land, surface, plate," from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." So called from the shape.

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