November 23, 2009

OK, So I'm a Bit Slow....

Someone please tell me this is not an extremely clever pun:

And this is . . . hysterical!

Because considering who I am, the adjective could be considered particularly apt:

The history of hysteria can be traced to ancient times; in ancient Greece it was described in the gynecological treatises of the Hippocratic corpus, which date from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. Plato's dialogue Timaeus tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. This theory is the source of the name, which stems from the Greek word for uterus, hystera (ὑστέρα).

Even if it wasn't intentional, I am extremely diverted. Sounds like the kind of subtle wisecrack my husband excels at. Men never cease to delight me.


  1. Uh, yeah, you are slow. But being a uterus and all, I will cut you some slack. "Hysterical" is one of those words that is not supposed to be used in polite company because it refers to "your kind", which only womyn have, which you probably have guessed. It is considered pejoritive. How does that make you feel? I would be insulted if any reference to my kind was banned from polite company.

  2. Dear Anonymous:

    If I surmised the connection between the term "hysterical" and uterus (hence the link), it seems unlikely that I wouldn't also know that the term is not exactly complimentary now doesn't it?

    Probably why I wasn't even tempted to take offense, but rather found the play on words amusing.

  3. I tend to assume that legal scholars are up on the origins of Latin-derived words. So, yeah: Reynolds meant it.

    As a uterine-enabled person, I don't mind the term "hysterical" in either sense that much. I do, on occasion, become annoyed when political opponents and sparring partners characterize their feminine counterparts as "shrill."

    On the other hand, when I'm in a management role and people call me "bitchy," I just giggle: how is having a bit of a will a handicap there? It isn't, that's how.

  4. Think about it: the idea of being made to laugh "hysterically" by a uterus is pretty funny.

    Of course, I may be overthinking again.

  5. Well of course it's intentional. Silly uterus!
    It's Glenn Reynolds!

    Hey, uterus is Latin all right, but hysteria is Greek.

  6. Ah. You have found my linguistic Achilles heel: near-total ignorance of languages other than English. When will I remember to verify all root languages before I allude to 'em?

    [slinking away]

  7. Sounds like hystoricism...

  8. This is where a truly unprincipled person would say, "It's all Greek to me".

    Fortunately, I have principles and would never say such a thing.

  9. I was

    Early treatments for Hysteria

    A snippet:

    A solution was the invention of massage devices, which shortened treatment from hours to minutes, removing the need for midwives and increasing a physician’s treatment capacity. Already at the turn of the century, hydrotherapy devices were available at Bath, and by the mid-19th century, they were popular at many high-profile bathing resorts across Europe and in America.[1] By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians. In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria.

    While physicians of the period acknowledged that the disorder stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction, they seemed unaware of or unwilling to admit the sexual purposes of the devices used to treat it.[1] In fact, the introduction of the speculum was far more controversial than that of the vibrator.[1]

    Ahhhh, so now we know.

    Papa Ray

  10. Well I know I said I was extremely diverted, but not that diverted!