Where does the word “leech” come from and What does leech mean?

From early English antiquity a physician has been called a leech, and from equally early times physicians have used the aquatic bloodsucking worm, known as leech, for bloodletting under certain conditions.

It is impossible to tell which was first to receive the name.

Etymologists believe, however, that present identity of spelling is accidental and that, originally, the words were different, although of similar form.

where does the word leech come from and what does leech mean

They think also that through the use by the early physician of the worm for bloodletting, the name of the latter became altered to that of the physician through association.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.