In Planet Germany, American Eric T. Hansen notes that medical Latin and Greek took over daily discourse in English, so that even the "simplest peasant" in an English-speaking country has to try to pronounce words like esophagus, larynx, mucus, or gastrointestinal.
German found a much better solution: it just took ordinary words and combined them in directly descriptive ways. A nostril in German is a Nasenloch or "nose-hole", a larynx is the Kehlkopf "throat-head" (well, sort of), gums are Zahnfleisch or "tooth-meat." Mucus is Schleim "slime," (crude but effective), and mucus membranes are Schleimhaut or "slime-skin."
Which brings us to Muttermundschleim, a word I didn’t know until I woke up one day to a radio feature on the Austrian gynecologist Hermann Knaus (G), one of the first physicians to popularize the rhythm method of contraception. You already know that Schleim is mucus, but what on earth could Muttermund, or "mother-mouth" be? What’s the kind of mouth only a mother could have? Why, one that speaks babies, of course. And lo and behold, the "mother-mouth" is the cervix, which all of us have seen once headin’ out, and only gynecologists (and certain other people who should generally be avoided) have seen headin’ in.
So putting it all together, yes, the subject of this week’s GWOW is, er, cervical mucus. If you’d like to see a picture, just go below the fold.
What, were you really expecting a picture of cervical mucus? Do you think I run that kind of blog? Get help, my friend. Now.