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May 2000

The 21st Century Macule Is Not the Willan but the Plenck Macule

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(5):674. doi:

A language is a tradition, a form of feeling the reality, and not merely an arbitrary glossary of symbols.—Jorge Luis Borges

In the October 1999 issue of the ARCHIVES, Jackson1 suggested "a detailed elaboration of what each word means" before the adoption of a consensus on definitions of basic dermatologic lesions. We believe that this elaboration must include the study of the evolution of their meanings. The largely unnoticed semantic changes in modern dermatologic terms have been one of the main factors contributing to the lack of their standardization. The roots of these changes are in the past. In this context, we thought it would be of interest to describe the complexity of the recent historical semantics of the term describing the simplest basic lesion: the macule.

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