Sciency Words: Borborygmus

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Today’s post is part of a special series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words.  Every Friday, I’ll bring you a new and interesting scientific word to help us all expand our scientific vocabularies.  Today’s word is:


They have weird, scientific terms for everything.  This one refers to the rumbling sound your stomach makes when you’re hungry, or when you have indigestion, or simply when you have gas.  The noise is actually caused by muscle contractions in the small intestines, not the stomach.

Now is this a term you’re likely to ever use?  Probably not.  At least not in casual writing or conversation.  This is one of those obscure words that you can’t use without pausing to explain what it means.  However, that didn’t stop Magic: The Gathering, a popular trading card game, from naming an enormous monster Borborygmos—because you do not want to fight a giant monster named for its loudly rumbling stomach.

So perhaps we science fiction writers should still pay attention to these strange and obscure sciency words, if not to use them as words then perhaps to use them as proper nouns.  I continue to hunt for an appropriate way to use the word syzygy in a sentence.  Maybe the solution is to use it as the name for some strange, ethereal space creature.

Now I am currently experiencing a little borborygmus of my own, so it’s time for me to head out to lunch.

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