Lexicus veterinaris

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It was powerful being a medical practitioner within the center ages.

The science of anatomy was advancing properly – as a result of one in every of humanity’s strengths all through historical past has been ensuring  individuals’s innards ended up as outtards, giving scientifically minded individuals ample alternative to review them (offered it wasn’t their very own outtards, during which case they have been most likely a bit distracted) – and surgical procedure was a minimum of in its infancy for comparable causes; however physiology was embryonic at greatest, and microbiology wasn’t even a glint within the milkman’s eye.

In lots of instances, a 13th century doctor wouldn’t have a lot of an thought about why individuals bought sick, not to mention realizing what would really work to enhance it.


"The only time I had encountered any of the words was learning that the terrible fleshy grey triangle of shark that breaks the water in Jaws was called the 'dorsal fin'." Image © storm / Adobe Stock
“The one time I had encountered any of the phrases was studying that the horrible fleshy gray triangle of shark that breaks the water in Jaws was referred to as the ‘dorsal fin’.” Picture © storm / Adobe Inventory

So, how do you set your self up as an professional within the mediaeval interval when your precise information base is tiny? Properly, the identical means specialists in an analogous place immediately do – invent a brand new language that makes you sound intelligent and ensures no one else is aware of what you’re speaking about.

Right this moment, the blue-sky thinkers would name it “jargon”, however the prototype medical doctors of yore already had a few languages custom-made for the aim – Greek and Latin.

Medical phrases developed from spiritual languages as a result of early medical doctors preferred to maintain their phrases impenetrable to the hoi polloi, however as the sphere developed into a real science, these highfalutin phrases really turned helpful, as a result of medical phrases are superbly exact, concise and evocative – to my ear a minimum of.

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Our secret language

I’ve heard it stated that studying medical terminology is the equal of studying a brand new language – I’m unsure about that, however understanding what the heck medical doctors are speaking about actually makes you’re feeling nearly as when you’re aware about a secret information hidden from the remainder of the world.

In honour of this, and with a watch to their “attempting to sound cleverer than you” origins, listed here are a few of my favorite medical phrases:


I fell in love with these phrases as I used to be studying anatomy – beforehand, the one time I had encountered any of the phrases was studying that the horrible fleshy gray triangle of shark that breaks the water in Jaws was referred to as the “dorsal fin”.

The power to explain, with out photos, precisely the place to seek out no matter it’s you’re speaking about on a physique is a superb instance of how exact and neat medical language might be (particular mentions in fact to axial/abaxial/labial/lingual, and so forth).

The one drawback with studying anatomy is that it utterly threw me after I needed to put collectively a barbecue – I assumed that “left” meant from the perspective of the barbecue, relatively than the particular person cooking on it, as a result of that’s how we roll in anatomy. Consequently, I put the legs on the improper means spherical. Sure, I’m principally saying that I’m too extremely educated, and must be excused from DIY duties.

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-ectomy, -otomy

“Typically, it’s simpler to say ‘iatrogenic haemorrhage’ than ‘whoops’.” Picture © Aaron Amat / Adobe Inventory

The great thing about numerous medical phrases is that they’re suffixes or prefixes, and might be added to any a part of anatomy you care to say. In addition to being shorter, these above suffixes sound a heck of quite a bit cleverer than “I reduce this bit off” and “I reduce a gap on this bit”.


One which our historic cousins would have been pleased with, that is principally saying “one thing improper with this bit”, and means as an alternative of claiming “nicely, there’s one thing improper with the liver, and it’s been occurring for fairly some time”, we are able to say “I’m afraid there’s proof of power hepatopathy”.


One in all my very favourites, in fact, as a result of “idiopathic power hepatopathy” sounds quite a bit higher than “I don’t know why it occurred or precisely what it’s, however your liver isn’t feeling too intelligent”.


As a result of, typically, it’s simpler to say “iatrogenic haemorrhage” than “whoops”.

Better of the perfect

Nevertheless, my remaining, crowning, favorite medical time period is nothing to do with sounding intelligent or preciseness. It’s simply the perfect medical phrase I’ve ever heard, and is the best instance of onomatopoeia identified to man – the time period for the bubbly noises your gastrointestinal tract makes when it will get excited.

Borboygmi, thanks for being a part of our language.

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