Medical Meanings: A Glossary of Word Origins, 2nd Edition
edited by William Haubrich, FACP
Hardcover: 267 pages
American College of Physicians
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"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind." — Samuel Johnson
Dr. William S. Haubrich's curiosity knows no bounds, nor does that of his readers. The overwhelming demand for more histories of yet more words is satisfied in the eagerly awaited second edition of Medical Meanings: A Glossary of Word Origins.
Here the reader will find not just etymology and explanations of medical terminology but lessons in history and popular culture. They will learn what really ailed John Merrick, a.k.a., the Elephant Man; what odd deformity plagued the House of Hapsburg, rulers of Spain from 1493 to 1780; and what the connection is between fetal alcohol syndrome and Little Orphan Annie.
Charming, witty, and a rollicking learning experience, the second edition of Medical Meanings is fully updated and revised to include over thirty percent more of the definitions, histories, and amusing anecdotes readers of the first edition so treasured.
The book has approximately 3,000 entries arranged in two columns per page. Arrangement is alphabetical with a few exceptions: broad categories such as colors, numbers, and phobias are grouped together under one heading. The entry headings are in boldface, and words within the entry in languages other than modern English are in italics. Greek terms are transliterated. Neither syllabication nor pronunciation is provided. The introduction contains instructions for using the book, a Greek transliteration table, and an invitation to send suggestions for improving the work to the author. Examples of entries include:
- charley horse is a term commonly used to describe pain and stiffness, usually in thigh muscles and especially that consequent to athletic stress. One explanation is that Charles II of England, following the Restoration in 1660, rewarded soldiers disabled by service in the Loyalist cause with appointment to undemanding government jobs. Such gimpy veterans were known as "Charleys." Later, the same Charley came to be given to an elderly, often partially lame horse retired from strenuous service and reserved for family use. Another story is that a somewhat decrepit horse named Charley was employed to haul a roller back and forth across the playing field of the Chicago White Sox baseball team in the 1890s. If all this seems devious, it's because it is.
- pithode is the nuclear barrel-like figure formed in the process of cellular mitosis. The Greek pithos was a wine cask. Rowdy medical students at Johns Hopkins University in the 1890s formed what they called The Society of Pithotomists, a reference to their penchant for tapping into kegs of wine or beer.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is the nation's largest medical specialty society. Its mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. ACP membership includes about 115,000 members, including medical students. Members are physicians in general internal medicine and related subspecialties, including cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, hematology, rheumatology, neurology, pulmonary disease, oncology, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, and geriatrics.
(information above from the publisher)
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