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.
The appearance of a new edition of a reference book usually implies
the exhaustion of the previous edition, a rapidly evolving field, or an energetic
author who still has a great deal more to say. Apparently all three of those
factors underlie the release of the second edition of this work so soon after
the first one in 1997.
It has been justly observed that the past history of any word—whether
that word pertains to technical terminology, political jargon, or junior-high
slang—is at once its most fascinating and its least useful feature.
In the days of Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster, when scholarly dictionaries
were a novelty, the etymology of each word was printed immediately after its
pronunciation. Nowadays it is more likely to appear at the end of an entry
if it is not omitted altogether.
Dirckx JH. Medical Language. JAMA. 2004;291(24):3015-3016. doi:10.1001/jama.291.24.3015-b