I'm looking at your...

I have been soaking a lot lately. Hot springs (and near-death experiences to get there), cold streams, glacier lakes… 

Alone,  most of the time I am 


But sometimes there happens to be... 

other humans with me. 

And so I look at them and think 

(oh pure soul) 

why is it that French for 

Belly Button 




My latin skills aren’t quite strong enough yet for my brain to retrace the whole history of the word.  I asked the Brasilian guy next to me:

- “What’s belly button in Portuguese?

- Umbigo. ”  he said in a mellifluent (or -fluous, if you prefer) way. 

Okay 3 points for the sexiness but I wasn’t closer to an answer. 

Ok, google.  The game is on. 

I type in “Nombril" : 


Not what I’m looking for, but i’m glad to know it’s a word in english too (and if you wonder what a fess point is:  a point at a center of a shield…So…I’ll let you do the math to decide where the Nombril on a shield is but the proportions don’t seem to match the human body) 


Here’s what I got with “Nombril étymologie”  (don’t speak french? the fun continues a little further down) 

Les deux mots «nombril» et «ombilic» sont issus du latin. Ombilic a été emprunté au latin classique umbilicus, et est passé par la forme embelic. ... Les appellations de bédille (cordon ombilical) et badine (nombril), de même origine que boyau, boudin (du latin bodellus) étaient également utilisées anciennement. 

OMBILIC! Voilà déjà quelque chose qui nous rapproche de umbigo mais comment est-on passé de umbilicus à NOMBRIL ?! Attention, voici la recette: 

Du latin umbilicus via diverses altérations : 

  1. Une forme diminutive *umbiliculus qui donne régulièrement umblil, omblil en ancien français ; 
  2. L’agglutination de l’article défini le dans lomblil et indéfini un dans nomblil ; 
  3. La dissimilation des deux \l\, le premier devenant \r\.


Then wikipedia says that most of the "Nombril" article is a translation of the "Navel" entry.



I had forgotten that word. So here’s a little graphic of the origin of the word for you anglophones: 

I'm a little skeptical on which Indo-Europeean root Navel and Umbo could share be but I will leave it here for now at tell you a very interesting fact about belly buttons that could be used in a detective tv series of some kind (COPYRIGHT!!!) 

What do you do if you have two IDENTICAL TWINS to differenciate?

Say, they're completely, totally identical, have the same haircut, the same irides (that's the medical plural for iris), no piercing, no scars to tell them apart?

Well then you forgot that the belly button IS a scar and that everyone, every single one of us has a UNIQUE BELLY BUTTON! 

So lift their shirts and you will probably discover, after 50 minutes of nerve-wracking suspense and too many TV ads, who murdered who in a domino effect that will baffle even the smartests in your audience.

PS : You could have also taken their fingerprints. NY Times says that "identical twins have different fingerprints" (But 6,8 or12-packs are better for drama, I agree.)

Anyway I'm sure it's gonna be an interesting program to watch ...


You can thank me later. Just remember me when you get rich.



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