General Question

warpling's avatar

Which came first tissue or tissue, but in what sense?

Asked by warpling (846points) January 20th, 2009

Tissue paper, or tissues of the body. I would guess the bodily kind, but maybe there was such a word that once meant neither things. Anyone have any insight?

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7 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, it’s from the Latin textare, according to the OED, and it meant ‘to weave,’ then to Old French where it became tissu, which meant ‘woven.’ is a great resource; you can look up words from the Oxford English Dictionary and have more fun with words there.

Vinifera7's avatar

Surely there are good sources for looking up the Etymology of words. You could start with the dictionary.

Jack79's avatar

like april said, body “tissue” is just a translation of the original greek word “istos” which means “web”. Similarly, the paper tissue is a woven material (the original ones of course not being made out of paper), and the origin is Latin. So I guess the original comes from spiders.

As far as the usage of the word goes, “tissue” was used to refer to textiles before it was used to refer to either the anatomy or the handkerchief.

morphail's avatar

@Jack79: why do you mention Greek? The word is from Latin texere “to weave”.

Jack79's avatar

Not the word, the meaning. The idea that there is a web of “stuff” inside our body, which was called “istos” (just like a spider’s web). When the Romans translated that into Latin, they used their own equivalent of the word, hence “textere”.

btw “text” also comes from that. And “textile” of course.

And even the root is originally the same, but that’s a different story.

morphail's avatar

@Jack79: how do you know that Latin texere was a translation of Greek ἱστός? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m curious.

In any case the Latin and Greek words are not related. ἱστός (histos) has been traced to *sta- “to stand”

But texere is from *teks- “to weave”

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