Etymology
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placenta (n.)

1670s of plants, "part of the ovary of flowering plants which bears the ovules," 1690s of mammals, "organ of attachment of a vertebrate embryo or fetus to the wall of the uterus or womb of the female," 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.

updated on June 30, 2020

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