Wednesday 15 August 2018

The Obstinate Obstetrician Obstacle

I was at work today, just doing my job when my brain popped up with the question:

"How is the word 'obstetrician' related to the word 'obstacle'?"

I mean, English is a weird language. There was a chance that they weren't related at all.

My train of thought was:

Obstacle = Thing blocking the way
Obstinate = Creates/births obstacles/blocks
Obstetrician = Doctor of blockages....? Really?

Well I finally got home and looked it up to find:

obstetric (adj.)
1742, from Modern Latin obstetricus "pertaining to a midwife," from obstetrix (genitive obstetricis) "midwife," literally "one who stands opposite (the woman giving birth)," from obstare "stand opposite to" (see obstacle). The true adjective would be obstetricic, "but only pedantry would take exception to obstetric at this stage of its career." [Fowler]. Related: Obstetrical.

So, Yeah... Not block, "stand opposite to".... Makes sense now. 😊

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