Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
Who uses a medical dictionary? It may surprise some that physicians
are probably not the principal users, but rather medical students, other health
care professionals, medical transcriptionists, and perhaps even lawyers and
journalists. The publishers of two of the four major American medical dictionaries
cater especially to students, nurses, or allied health workers rather than
to physicians. By and large physicians know the meaning of the words they
see, hear, and use in everyday life and have a sufficient acquaintance with
the underlying roots to make sense out of most unfamiliar words. They still,
however, sometimes need to pull down the dictionary to look up an obscure
word in another specialty, or perhaps (one would like to think) to check on
the exact meaning of a word they might be planning to use in their own writing.
Fortuine R. Reference. JAMA. 2003;290(24):3255-3256. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3255-a