Kevin De Vecchis

On two medical terms in Boccaccio: «emuntorio» and «gavocciolo»

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: medical lexicon; Esposizioni sopra la Comedia; Decameron.

The study analyses two medical terms found in two vernacular works written by Boccaccio: emuntorio ‘organ that has the function of conveying waste matter from the body’ in the Esposizioni sopra la Comedia, and gavocciolo ‘bubonic plague’ in the Decameron. Although both belong to the specialised language of the medical field, the two terms have different connotations. The former is a Latinism, which in Latin has changed its meaning over time with respect to the first attestation in the Vulgate, and which only became specialised in the medical sense in the late Middle Ages; while the latter is a word of popular origin, first attested in the Decameron, whose etymology still presents a number of unresolved questions.

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