The spleen, splen, gets its name from supplementum, because it fills up the part opposite the liver lest there should be an empty space; some reckon that it was created as a seat of laughter. For we laugh with the spleen, grow angry with the bile, discern with the heart and love with the liver; the whole animal is formed from these four elements in harmony.
The gall bladder, fel, is so called because it is a little bag holding the humour called bile, bilis. The gullet, stomachus, is called in Greek os because, as the door, ostium, of the belly it takes in food and sends it on to the intestines.
The intestines, intestina, are so called because they are contained in the inner, interior, part of the body. They are arranged in long coils, so that they are not obstructed by food that has been swallowed. The caul, omentum, is a skin containing the greater part of the intestines; the Greeks call it epiploon. The diaphragm, disceptum intestinum, is so called because it separates the belly and other intestines from the lungs and heart. The blind intestine, cecum, is so called because it lacks an opening or exit; the Greeks call it tiaonentipon [tuphlon enteron]. The thin intestine is calledieiuna; from it comes ieiunium, fast day. The belly, venter, the bowel, alvus, and the womb, uterus, differ from each other. The belly digests food that has been swallowed and is visible from outside; it extends from the breast to the groin. It is called venter because it conveys throughout the body the food of life.
The bowel is the part that receives the food and is regularly purged. Sallust: ‘Pretending that he purged his bowels’ (History, 1, 52). It is also called the bowel, alvus, because it is washed out, abluere, that is, purged. For from it flows out excremental filth.