Rheumatology Etymology

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Defining some common words in the world of the rheumatologist

The medical world is full of words with long histories and multiple meanings. Here are a few commonly used in the field of rheumatology with their definitions and where they came from.

Encyclopædia Britannica lists rheumatism as “any of several disorders that have in common inflammation of the connective tissues, especially the muscles, joints, and associated structures.” The word derives from the Greek rheumatismos, coined by Galen of Pergamum, a philosopher, physician, and pioneer of medical practice, in the 2nd century CE. Today, few if any doctors use the word “rheumatism” to describe a specific medical condition, although it still exists as a colloquialism.


Rheumatism. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/501241/rheumatism. Accessed July 20, 2011.

Read More: http://www.the-rheumatologist.org/details/article/1311693/Rheumatology_Etymology.html