The Amazing Language of Medicine

Understanding Medical Terms and Their Backstories

  • Robert B. Taylor

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 1-7
  3. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 9-26
  4. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 53-76
  5. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 77-95
  6. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 97-119
  7. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 121-147
  8. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 149-171
  9. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 173-195
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 221-238

About this book


This book tells the intriguing and often colorful stories of the medical words we use. The origins of clinical and scientific terms can be found in Greek and Latin myths, in places such as jungles of Uganda and the islands of the Aegean Sea, in the names of medicine’s giants such as Hippocrates and Osler, and in some truly unlikely sources.

In this book you will learn the answers to questions such as:

•           What disease was named for an American space flight?

•           Do you know the echoic word for elephantine rumbling of the bowels?

•           What drug name was determined by drawing chemists’ notes out of a hat?

•           What are surfer’s eye, clam digger’s itch, and hide porter’s disease?

This book can give you new insights into the terms we use every day in the clinic, hospital, and laboratory. Knowing a word’s history assists in understanding not only what it means, but also some of the connotative subtleties of terms used in diagnosis and treatment. The Amazing Language of Medicine is intended for the enrichment of physicians, other health professionals, students, and anyone involved in clinical care and medical science.


medical language medical history medical writing culture of medicine language implications

Authors and affiliations

  • Robert B. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineOregon Health & Science University, School of MedicinePortlandUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Medicine
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-50327-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-50328-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site