The word fetus originates from the Latin fetus meaning “offspring”, “act of bearing young”, or “is or was filled with young”. Foetus is an English variation on this rather than a Latin or Greek word, but has been in use since at least 1594 according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which describes fetus as etymologically preferable but almost unknown in actual use. In general, the medical community only permits the spelling fetus (preferred by the British Medical Journal, for example), but the spelling foetus persists in general use, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc.