A sebaceous secretion in the folds of the skin, especially under a man’s foreskin.
- One consequence of the germ theory of disease was to see smegma, produced by the foreskin, as infectious material.
- When the foreskin is removed during circumcision, smegma no longer accumulates between the foreskin and glans, and smegma's immunoprotective properties are lost.
- For example, it would be interesting to determine if smegma, a glandular discharge that collects under the foreskin and lubricates the glans, has spermicidal properties.
Early 19th century: via Latin from Greek smēgma 'soap', from smēkhein 'cleanse'.
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