WORDS TO THE WISEBMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7050.152 (Published 20 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:152
- Grant Hutchison
An extended family
Genes, genitals, and gender all clearly have something to do with the process of reproduction. They are, in fact, members of a large family of words presumed to originate from a single Indo-European root sounding something like gon- or gen-. In Greek this became gonos, a seed, and genea, a race. From the former we have gonad, and from the latter genealogy, homogeneous, and the -gen ending used to signify “giving rise to.” Meanwhile, in northern Europe, the Germanic languages mutated the Indo-European “g” into a “k”; a process first described by Jakob Grimm, the famous philologist and author. …
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