It’s a Gas: Borborygmus

Yes, it’s embarrassing when your stomach starts to rumble. What is the technical term for when your stomach starts to act up and seems to want to strike up a conversation with the outside world? The answer would be, Borborygmus, which is pronounced [bor·br·ig·muhs].

A gurgling, rumbling, or squeaking noise from the abdomen is caused by the movement of gas through the bowels. Also known as stomach rumbling. The plural is borborygmi.

The word borborygmic has been used in literature to describe noisy plumbing. In Ada, Vladimir Nabokov wrote: “All the toilets and water pipes in the house had been suddenly seized with borborygmic convulsions”.

“Borborygmus” has been part of English for at least 250 years; its earliest known use dates from around 1724.