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Books, Journals, New Media
December 24/31, 2003


Author Affiliations

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.

JAMA. 2003;290(24):3255-3256. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3255-a

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.

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