Siamese Twins

   On April 15, 1811, in Mekong or possibly Bangesau, Siam, two boys were born joined at the waist by a short tubular cartilaginous band through which their circulatory systems functioned. Physicians said that it would be fatal to cut them apart because they shared the same liver tissue. The boys, Chang and Eng, had mirror organs in that what one had on the right side, the other had on the left, what is known scientifically as situs inversus. They could walk, even run fast, and in some ways seemed normal. They had short tempers with other people, but they were solicitous about each other's comfort.
   P. T. Barnum, the great showman, discovered the boys, sons of a Chinese father and Siamese mother, and brought them to America. He named them the Siamese Twins, and the name became generic for twins joined at birth side by side or front to back. Barnum exhibited them until they became adults. They then exhibited on their own until they acquired enough money to become farmers. This they did in North Carolina, whose legislature gave them the surname Bunker. In 1843 they married two sisters and eventually fathered twenty-two children, all physically normal. While returning from a visit to Liverpool, Chang suffered a paralytic stroke. On January 16, 1874, at their home in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Eng awakened to find that his brother had died. Three hours later, Eng was dead.
   Some such twins have been surgically separated and are able to live normal lives. The key is the site of the connection. The name Siamese twins has persisted for physically attached twins. In general usage, the expression means that two persons are so friendly that if you see one, you are bound to see the other.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Siamese twins — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ twins that are physically joined at birth, in some cases sharing organs. ORIGIN with reference to the Siamese men Chang and Eng (1811 74), who were joined at the waist …   English terms dictionary

  • Siamese twins — n. [after such a pair of twins, Chang and Eng (1811 1874), of Siam] any pair of twins born with bodies joined together in some way …   English World dictionary

  • Siamese twins — Siamese twins. См. сиамские близнецы. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Siamese twins — 1. congenitally united twins, Chang and Eng (1811 74), born in Siam, who were joined to each other at the chest by a short, tubular, cartilaginous band. 2. any twins who are born joined together in any manner. [1820 30] * * * Siamese twins plural …   Useful english dictionary

  • Siamese twins — [19] The original ‘Siamese twins’ were two males, Chang and Eng (1811– 74), born in Siam (now Thailand), who were joined together at the hip. No attempt was made to separate them, and they lived to a respectable age; each married and fathered… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Siamese twins — [19] The original ‘Siamese twins’ were two males, Chang and Eng (1811– 74), born in Siam (now Thailand), who were joined together at the hip. No attempt was made to separate them, and they lived to a respectable age; each married and fathered… …   Word origins

  • SIAMESE TWINS —    twins born in Siam, of Chinese parents, whose bodies were united by a fleshy band extended between corresponding breast bones; were purchased from their mother and exhibited in Europe and America, realised a competency by their exhibitions,… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Siamese twins — plural noun twins that are physically joined at birth, in some cases sharing organs. Origin with ref. to the Siamese men Chang and Eng (1811–74), who were joined at the waist …   English new terms dictionary

  • Siamese twins — identical twins that are physically joined together at birth. The condition ranges from twins joined only by the umbilical blood vessels (allantoido angiopagous twins) to those in whom conjoined heads or trunk are inseparable. * * * conjoined t s …   Medical dictionary

  • Siamese twins — Si′amese twins′ n. pl. twins who are congenitally joined together • Etymology: 1820–30; alluding to Chang and Eng (1811–74), twins born in Siam who were joined in this way …   From formal English to slang

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