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Article
March 8, 1941

ABBREVIATION AND MEANINGLESS DICTION IN MEDICINE

Author Affiliations

Raleigh, N. C.

JAMA. 1941;116(10):1022. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820100116022

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  I cannot resist the impulse to endorse the views expressed by Dr. Ramsay Spillman in The Journal of January 18. He is confused by perplexing abbreviations and meaningless diction employed in his own specialty, and I am sure many of us in all departments of medicine could furnish samples of the same sort.Medical terminology in the United States (and probably elsewhere) is in a woful state. Scores of words and expressions and their short-cut forms in common use not only violate the principles of philology and defy their derivations but also confound scientific precision and offend one's sense of accuracy. It is just as easy to be right as to be wrong, and much more becoming.The most flagrant example of twisted derivation is the use of "clinic" as applied to a place for the reception and examination of patients, formerly called a dispensary or outpatient

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