One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The posterior portion of the alimentary canal, especially in an embryo (in which it occurs as an invagination of the epiblast or ectoderm); specifically the hindgut of an insect or other arthropod.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Ray Lankester (1847–1929), zoologist. From procto- + ancient Greek ὁδαῖος that is on or by the road (in ancient Greek only in ὁδαῖα freight, merchandise; in Byzantine Greek designating the god Hermes, to whom statues were set up by the roadside; from ὁδός way + -αῖος, suffix forming adjectives) + -um, after Latin nouns in -um; compare quot. 1876.
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