One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Medicine. Rupture of an organ or tissue, especially of a blood vessel; haemorrhage or extravasation of blood resulting from such rupture; an instance of this.
2Biology. Fragmentation of a cellular component or cell. Compare earlier "karyorrhexis".
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Arderne's Treatises of Fistula in Ano. From post-classical Latin rhexis bloodletting, rupture of an organ or tissue from ancient Greek ῥῆξις action or fact of breaking or bursting, breaking forth, discharge, especially of blood from the stem of ῥηγνύναι to break + -σις.
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