Historical Review

  • Jean-Claude Givel


How the thymus gland came by its name is controversial. Crotti (1918) discusses two theories, one of which likens the gland to a bunch of the herb called Θύμος in ancient Greek and thyme in modern English, belonging to the genus Thymus. The second theory — espoused, according to Crotti, by Galen (ca. 130–200 A. D.) — derives the name from the identically spelt, but differently accented Greek word Θυμός, meaning the soul or the heart, and explains the association by the intimate anatomical relation between the gland and the heart.


Historical Review Johns Hopkins Hospital Thymus Gland Thymic Hyperplasia Thymic Cyst 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

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  • Jean-Claude Givel

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