What is Flatulence and Gas? Definition and History

Linguistic Definition of Flatulence

Before we define flatulence, the best way to understand what flatulence is to know the origin of the word. Its etymology is that it has been derived from two Latin words: Flatus and Ulent.

Get results instantlyThe literal meaning of the word “flatus” is blowing or the act of blowing or breaking wind. “ulent” or “ulence” which means “having in quantity” or something “full of”. So if the linguistic definition of flatulence would be “the act of blowing or breaking wind in quantity”. Putting it in simpler words it means to blow or break wind.

What is meant by Flatulence today?

As time passes, words and phrases change their meanings or adopt new meanings due to linguistic flux. Today when we talk of flatulence, words like stomach, gas, canal, food, intestine, bacteria etc. come into our mind. This is simply because today it has acquired new meaning associated with a certain state of health condition in which gas or wind is produced in the intestine and then passed through the rectum. So, medically speaking, it is both a state and an act or process. It is state of having a certain amount of gas or wind in the intestine and then a process by which that wind or gas is passed out of the body via the rectum.

Is it a disease?

If we think a disease to be a certain state of ailment or medical condition or a continuous discomfort or when the body normal functioning is not normal, then it is a disease. However, there are sometimes, finer distinction just between a disease and a reaction of the body known as symptoms. For instance, it is generally considered that headache or fever itself is not a disease but a reaction of the body to certain other conditions behind it. Similarly, one may ask if flatulence itself is a disease or just a symptom of a condition. If it is just a usual production and expulsion of say 10 to 15 times a day then it is nothing more than normal functioning of the body. However, if it is excessive and more frequent than that then it is best to call it an ailment as it has causes behind it..

So to summarize it and answer the question what is flatulence, it can be simply said to be a state and a process where gas or wind is accumulated in the intestine and then expelled. It is a natural condition, and in many cases is nothing to be worried about. However, in case of abnormal or bad flatulence it might require attention to find its causes and look for its treatment.

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