Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.

The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.

In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.

In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.

Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.

See also


Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

W w

W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet.

W was invented in the 7th century by Anglo-Saxon writers, it was originally a double V (which also represented U—hence its English name "Double U", because the /w/ sound was spelled "vv"). The sound /w/, the voiced labiovelar semivowel , was previously represented by the Runic letter Wynn (Ƿ).

The Latin /w/ sound developed into Romance /v/; therefore V no longer adequately represented Germanic /w/. In German—like in Romance—the phoneme /w/ was lost, this is why German W represents /v/ rather than /w/. In Dutch, W is an approximant (with the exception of words with EEUW, which have [-e:w]).

In the Swedish and Finnish alphabets, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" and not a separate letter. It is however recognised and maintained in names, like "William".

In the alphabets of modern Romance languages, it is not used either, except in foreign names and words recently borrowed (le week-end, il watt, el kiwi). When a spelling for the /w/ sound in a native word is needed, a spelling from the native alphabet, such as U or OU, can be used instead.

The equivalent representation of the /w/ sound in Cyrillics is letter Ў, a unique letter in Belarusian language.

"Double U" is the only English letter name with more than one syllable. This gives the nine-syllable initialism www the irony of being an abbreviation that takes more syllables to say than the unabbreviated form, and thus shortening the "double u" into "dup" only. In Texas dialect, however, the name of W is often condensed to two syllables rather than three.

Whiskey represents the letter W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

The W on a weather vane stands for west.

Meanings for W

Two-letter combinations starting with W:

Letter-digit combinations starting with W:

Last updated: 02-03-2005 16:50:21