Evisceration may refer either to the disembowelment of an animal, or a phenomenon where an animal willingly ejects its guts to scare predators (brilliant strategy, right? The main example of this is the sea cucumber). Funnily enough, when the word was first brought into English around 1600 CE, it was figurative, meaning "to expose someone's secrets"; the literal meaning didn't come about until another 20 years had passed. Both of these definitions are based off the Latin verb eviscerare, meaning "to disembowel" (so the literal part of it was applied a little circuitously). This in turn is a combination of the prefix ex-, meaning "out" (from Proto-Indo-European eghs, also "out"), and viscera, a word meaning "bowels" and the etymon of visceral (since something visceral is experienced on an emotional, gut level). So an evisceration is a "removing of bowels". Makes sense. Viscera may derive from Proto-Indo-European weys, meaning "to turn" or "rotate".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.