One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A greasy deposit covering the skin of a baby at birth.
- ‘We say all the birth words: ‘placenta, meconium, vernix, perineum, bilirubin.’’
- ‘The amniotic fluid may be discolored by blood from a previous amniocentesis, excess vernix, or meconium.’
- ‘Rather than amniotic fluid contributing to soft skin, according to Kelly, babies in the womb are protected by vernix.’
Late 16th century: from medieval Latin, variant of veronix ‘fragrant resin’ (see varnish).
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