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Are “Proctor” and “Proctologist” Related?

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Are the words proctor and proctologist connected? No. The word proctor, as in a university proctor who supervises or monitors students, derives from Latin procurator, from words meaning to “care for” or “advocate for,” from the same family of words as proxy and procure.

The source of the word proctologist is the Greek word proktos, meaning “anus.” (In Latin, the word anus, means “ring,” the source of Spanish anillo, “ring,” and via French, the English word annular, meaning “ring-shaped,” as in an annular eclipse.) Medical professionals sometimes jokingly refer to a proctologist as a rear admiral or a comprehensive physician. (Listen to this clip to find out why.) If someone causes proctalgia, it’s because they pain us in the anus.This is part of a complete episode.

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