What's the word for saying that a limb or body part originates from another? I can think of a metaphorical way of saying it, but it's definitively not what I am looking for. I want to say it in a non-figurative way.

For example:

Seraphim wings sprang forth from her back.

  • 1
    Can you give me an example of a real body part (since humans don't have wings) that originates from another body part? If we're talking about the human body, it is a whole.
    – Don B.
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 3:51

3 Answers 3


In most of the (admittedly limited) cases I've seen of people talking about new limbs appearing, the verb used was to sprout:

A new pair of arms sprouted from his torso.

However, the image this creates is a new limb sort of erupting from the other body part, as if they were a new or natural growth. If they were there all along but concealed, by another body part or by magic or similar, or you want a more magical appearance rather than a seemingly-biological appearance, I would use different words. It depends what image your are trying to evoke. However, I'm not sure the word forth is actually helping you here.

Seraphim wings sprang from her back.

This suggests that they appeared suddenly, all at once, as if they were concealed or came into existence all at once. It also suggests that they opened, as that's the easiest way of conveying the sense of motion that to spring evokes.

Seraphim wings appeared on her back.

This suggests they weren't there one moment, then they were the next, but with no sense of movement.

Seraphim wings unfurled from her back.

This suggests they were always there, but somehow concealed. They were folded up (furled, now rarely seen but its negation to unfurl is still used widely), and then they unfolded.

Seraphim wings unfolded from her back.

This suggests that they were always there, but concealed - though probably not well-concealed. It suggests something more mechanical than unfurled does.

Seraphim wings grew from her back.

This suggests a biological process, but one that sounds less violent than sprouted.

Seraphim wings erupted from her back.

This evokes a similar image to sprouted, but more violent, possibly (but not necessarily) involving pain and blood loss.

I'm sure there are other possibilities, but that gives a range of terms that give slightly different mental images.

By the way, purely as an aside, you may wish to be aware of the range of opinions around the word seraphim; a lot of people now consider that a plural, as the Hebrew word it is based on is a plural, and the singular is seraph. Thus, the attributive noun suggests that the wings are "those of multiple seraphim", which is fine - it suggests they are like those of all seraphim. It's just a little non-standard. Seraph wings is another alternative, also as an attributive noun, or you can use the genitive seraph's wings. Also, some people think we should take the singular as seraph and then give it a regular English plural, seraphs, rather than the Latin always-plural term seraphim, which was copied from the Hebrew. Personally, I like the elegance of the Hebrew-style plural.


I don't think we have a standard word to express that idea. It would depend on the body part and the image you want to convey when you describe it.

These are my poor attempts at examples:

Six long graceful toes extended from each of her feet.

Bushy black eyebrows sprouted wildly from above his deep brown eyes.

A large wart grew out from the tip of her nose.

All of her brothers had very large ears protruding from their heads.

A long gray beard hung from his chin half-way down to his waist.

For the seraphim wings, I would probably go with "extended from", but others will probably be able to come up with a more creative verb.

After further reflection, I think I might use "emerge":

I could not take my eyes off the huge pair of seraphim wings emerging from the her back.

  • 1
    I upvoted mostly for sprouted.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 11:35

Spawn and or spawned. Seraphim wings spawned forth from her back.

  • 4
    I am sorry, but one can't use "spawned forth" in that way. One might say 'Her back spawned Seraphim wings" but even that is a bit awkward i think. Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 4:57
  • 3
    Can you please explain why do you think that your answer is correct? Also, please provide some references (links) to back that information.
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 6:21
  • I prefer the OP's sprang to your suggestion of spawned.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 11:29

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