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September 28, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLIX(13):1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530130055007

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A common error of medical writers, which is by no means limited to the novice, is that of describing the size and shape of a pathologic growth or area of tissues by comparing it with some common object, a method which is a constant source of annoyance and difficulty to those who would afterward make use of their descriptions. The chief reason why this method is defective is that an object that may be common in one country may be unfamiliar in another, and also that the size of the same class of objects may be subject to great variations. For example, English writers say frequently that a lesion is the size of a horse bean; now what will that signify to an Italian student of the literature? To specify sizes by comparison to such things as a horse chestnut, a lentil, a watermelon seed, or a muskmelon is sure

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