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A Ph.d in anatomy asked me this question: Why is the expression "bodily fluids" and not "body fluids"?

  • Bodily fluids is an affectation. – user95535 Oct 24 '14 at 17:15
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In this context, bodily is a more precise word. A body fluid could also be some kind of fluid you put on your body (think body milk, for instance); a bodily fluid, on the other hand, is a fluid pertaining to your body.

Nevertheless, it is not true that body fluids is not used. According to wikipedia, both expresions are synonymous. And a Google search reveals that both expressions are used more or less the same (354,000 vs 395,000 occurrences).

  • I'm not sure that your explanation makes that much sense, especially since the two terms are synonomous. By your definition, I might say that "I'm going to take a shower and feel warm body fluids spray onto my body." Or you could "eat my pancakes with maple-ily syrup." And what is "body milk"?? How does the "ily" ending make it better than no suffix at all? – Bruce James Oct 2 '14 at 15:56
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    @BruceJames Body milk is the same as body lotion, i.e., a moisturising cream for the body (at least to those of us not interested in beauty products—to those who are, I’m sure there’s some difference or other between them). Bodily is an adjective that means “of or concerning the body”. It’s also bodily harm, rather than body harm. There is no such suffix as -ily, it is -ly. Why use an adjective instead of a noun adjunct? Because that’s the established phrase. You could also say brother love, but the established phrase is brotherly love. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 2 '14 at 17:43

protected by tchrist Oct 27 '14 at 1:47

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