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On Parenting.se we recently received this question, which refers to sectio caesare birth.

I was not familiar with the term, but found that wikipedia redirects the term to the caesarian section page.

After some discussion, it was suggested that this might be a common European variant for the procedure. However, it is not clear to me if this is the term from non-English European languages, or if it was used commonly by European English-speakers.

Are both versions valid in English? Is one more common than the other (I don't want to fall into the American bias here)?

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That may be a medical term, but only a few people will be able to dope it out. Stick with caesarian section or just caesarian and people will always know what you mean. –  Robusto Jul 25 '12 at 17:34
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Agreed. Why use Latin in talking English when almost nobody understands it any more? As for whether it's common -- no, it's not. Don't bother. –  John Lawler Jul 25 '12 at 17:50
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The colloquial "C-section" is common. "Caesarian section" is about as common. "Caesarian" is used. No other terms are common, in my experience. –  Charles Jul 25 '12 at 20:48
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My Latin studies are not all that recent, but I feel that this is not a correct Latin expression. Whereas sectio might be correct, the following term should be either a noun in the genitive case (the cut of Caesar, more or less) or an adjective, but the expression offered doesn't seem to be either. And in Italian nothing similar is used to indicate a Caesarian delivery. –  Paola Jul 25 '12 at 22:41
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Both the "expression" and the question are Too Localised - sectio caesare isn't English, and never had any currency even among the medical profession. Voting to close. –  FumbleFingers Jul 25 '12 at 22:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A quick search of Google books seems to confirm that sectio caesarea is not a common English phrase at all. Also, using OneLook Dictionary shows no results for this phrase.

So unless someone has other information, I think it is clear that you should use Caesarean section.

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While it certainly sounds like Latin, it doesn't appear to be a medical term in "English-speaking" countries. The author of the question is from Malaysia and this term does appear to be in use over there (as well as in neighbouring Indonesia). I suggest that you add the term as a synonym of the caesarean-section tag (if one exists) and replace everything else for consistency.

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Yet another reason why posters should identify their language backgrounds. –  John Lawler Jul 25 '12 at 18:03

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