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Books, Journals, New Media
July 8, 1998

DictionaryTaber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 1998;280(2):194-195. doi:10.1001/jama.280.2.194-JBK0708-2-1

Although Clarence Wilbur Taber was nearly 70 years old when Taber's Digest of Medical Terms appeared in 1937, he lived to see 10 editions of the book, renamed Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, through the press. And although he himself was not a health professional, he created a reference work that ranks today as one of the premier medical dictionaries in English.

Two features distinguish this dictionary from others in the field. With the second edition of 1944, Taber introduced a number of expanded entries that fully justified the designation cyclopedic. He then gradually modified the scope of the work to emphasize the nursing perspective. Whereas, in 1944, the list of contributors included only one nurse, the list for the 18th edition includes only one physician. With the 11th edition, published in 1973, Clayton Lay Thomas, MD, assumed editorial leadership, and under his guidance Taber's has steadily advanced in quality and accuracy as well as in size.

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