Cur cochlear a cochlea est ortum? Quomodo connectuntur?

In Anglicum liberaliter traductum: What do spoons have to do with snails?


1 Answer 1


William Whitaker's Words provides a hint in their definition:

spoon; (originally for extracting snails); spoonful;

(emphasis mine)

Wikipedia supports this, but says it less definitely:

The word cochlea has a literal meaning of spiral or snail shell, leading many to conclude that the design of the spoon was so that the handle could be used to get snails or cockles out of the shell.

(emphasis mine)

Continued Googling gives very, very few nonmedical results (everything is talking about cochlear implants or infections), and filtering just leaves barely any results. As far as I can tell, this is a question we don't have a definite answer to, but the current hypothesis is this:

The cochlear was used to extract snails from their shells originally.

Alternatively, in Latin: Cochlear usus primitus erat vellere cochleis crustas

I think. My Latin is, as I keep saying, not perfect.

  • (Cavē Latīnitātem tīrōnis.) Intellegisne quōmodo cochleāris forma adiūvit cochleam ex conchā carptus esse? Diū imāginem spectāvī tamen nōn intellegō, sed numquam conātus sum ex conchā cochleam carpere.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 4:04
  • @BenKovitz I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but if I understood it right, no, I don't know how the spoon was used to extract snails.
    – anon
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 4:41

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