What does Fetus Really Mean?

What does Fetus Really Mean?

Words have power to describe positively, neutrally or negatively something and politicians have learnt the art of saying little or nothing by the words they use.

Therefore in any conflict the words used by each side are chosen for a reason. The words a lobby uses will always show their intentions to either soften the debate or to harden it. English has a large vocabulary and has words to specially describe numerous things. However there are words that become a standard or common sense for everyday use. As an example you could say that you saw a large fire or a conflagration. Which word would you use?

There has been much debate and misunderstanding about what certain words mean when it comes to the subject of Abortion. Therefore I think it is important that everyone understands what Fetus means as certain parts of the debate use this word instead of baby. Baby humanises and attaches emotion to the fetus, where the word fetus sounds cold and clinical. These types of word battles take place in all parts of society and we all need to be talking about the same definition or idea. If not then dialogue will go nowhere.

I wonder how a Pro-Choice woman would react if every time someone saw them pregnant they said how is your “Fetus”? What are you going to call your fetus? Sounds strange doe it not.

What does Fetus Really Mean?

Below are 3 definitions and explanations about the word Fetus and I think that many will be surprised to read that it means :- a developing human from usually 8 weeks after conception to birth.

This definition surely means a baby human to all people around the world. When it comes to giving birth a fetus cannot be a fetus 2 minutes before it is born and then a baby once outside the womb. This is just people trying to imply that during pregnancy the baby is not a person or a living human being. Based upon the below definitions that is not the case.

1. Webster Dictionary Definition

An unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind; specifically: a developing human from usually 8 weeks after conception to birth

Origin of Fetus

Middle English, from Latin, act of bearing young, offspring; akin to Latin fetus newly delivered, fruitful

First Known Use: 14th century

2. Oxford Dictionary

Definition of fetus:

NOUN (plural fetuses) : An unborn or unhatched offspring of a mammal, in particular, an unborn human more than eight weeks after conception.


Late Middle English: from Latin fetus ‘pregnancy, childbirth, offspring’.


The spelling foetus has no etymological basis but is recorded from the 16th century and until recently was the standard British spelling in both technical and non-technical use. In technical usage fetus is now the standard spelling throughout the English-speaking world, but foetus is still found in British English outside technical contexts.

3. What is a Fetus according to Wikipedia?

fetus /ˈfiːtəs/, also spelled foetus (or archaically faetus), is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth. It is also defined as the unborn young of a vertebrate, after developing to its basic form.

In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development may be defined as beginning at the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization. In biological terms, however, prenatal development is a continuum, with no clear defining feature distinguishing an embryo from a fetus. The use of the term “fetus” generally implies that a mammalian embryo has developed to the point of being recognizable as belonging to its own species, and this is usually taken to be the 9th week after fertilization. A fetus is also characterized by the presence of all the major body organs, though they will not yet be fully developed and functional, and may not all be situated in their final anatomical location.

Etymology and spelling variations

The word fetus is from the Latin fetus, meaning offspringbringing forthhatching of young. It has Indo-European roots related to sucking or suckling.

Foetus is a variation of the Latin spelling, and has been in use since at least 1594, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which describes it as “incorrectly written”; it arose as an erroneous hypercorrection, possibly first made by Saint Isidore of Seville in AD 620.

The common English spelling in UK and Commonwealth countries, as well as in some other languages (e.g., French), is foetus. In the United States, in the medical/research community internationally, and in Latin, fetus is agreed-upon as the standard spelling.

Its correct plural is “fetuses”, not “feti”, as Latin fētus is fourth declension and its Latin plural is fētūs.


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