Human Growth and Development

Birth and Lactation

What is the origin of the term “Siamese twins”?

The term “Siamese twins” dates to 1811, when a pair of conjoined twins was born in Bangkok, the capital of Siam (now called Thailand). The twins Eng and Chang (which mean “left” and “right” in Siamese) were joined at the lower end of the sternum. They left Siam when they were 18, spending time in both the United States and England. In addition to becoming famous as part of the P.T. Barnum circus, they were farmers. They married sisters and each raised a family. The parents of Eng and Chang were Chinese, not Siamese. The Siamese called them “Chinese twins.”


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