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September 4, 1987

Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary

Author Affiliations

Washington University School of Medicine St Louis

Washington University School of Medicine St Louis

JAMA. 1987;258(9):1244. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400090128049

The history of medical dictionaries can be traced back to the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville in the seventh century. The first to be printed was a 1471 edition of a work by an Italian, Simone Cordo, who had lived two centuries earlier. The earliest original compilation of medical terminology in English was A Medicinal Dictionary by Robert James (1743-1745), prefaced, fittingly enough, by Samuel Johnson. Successive editions of three unabridged dictionaries have long been standards for use in the United States, namely, Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Stedman's Medical Dictionary, and Blakiston's New Gould Medical Dictionary. More recently, in response to needs of allied health professionals and students, among others, some useful reference alternatives have appeared, notably the Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health and Melloni's Illustrated Medical Dictionary.

A new entry into this arena comes from the distinguished house of Merriam-Webster Inc. Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary