What’s in a name?

In June 2014 on June 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

Kirsti Goose bumps LaT1NaSo

Kirsti: Since beholding the great sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia I posted on a few weeks back, I’ve acquired a bit of a morbid interest in the technical or medical names of common afflictions.

There are a plethora of fabulous and mind bending names for every day behaviours and conditions that just don’t get used enough. Although I teach science students to use plain and simple English when explaining technical content, in the age of rapid modification of our vocabulary, I’m also big fan of keeping alive those crazy technical words that might otherwise only be used on a medical diagnostic chart.

You might know more of these words than you think. So I’m going to give you a little quiz. See how many of the words below you know in plain English, or in kid-english (“OUCH that reeeaaaallly hurts MUUUUMMM”!). Answers are waaay down the bottom.

  1. Cutis anserine
  2. Myocardial infarction
  3. Periodontitis
  4. Borborygmi
  5. Xerostomia
  6. Pruritus ani
  7. Hallux abducto valgus
  8. Rhinotillexomania

If, like the majority of us, you forgot what a brain freeze was called perhaps as soon as one hour after reading that blog post, you’re in luck. I found some cool tips on how to remember words. It can be as easy as using those words in the 30 minutes following learning them.

So go now and call someone – I challenge you to drop in one or two of the words above!

[image thanks to Roberto Gomez on Flickr]




Cutis anserine = goose bumps

Myocardial infarction = heart attack

Periodontitis = gum disease

Borborygmi = rumbly tummy

Xerostomia = dry mouth

Pruritus ani = itchy bum

Hallux abducto valgus = bunion

Rhinotillexomania = nose picking


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