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April 11, 1977

Stedman's Medical Dictionary: A Vocabulary of Medicine and Its Allied Sciences, With Pronunciations and Derivations

JAMA. 1977;237(15):1623-1624. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270420091032

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The editors of a medical dictionary face colossal problems: new terms to be listed, obsolete terms eliminated, current meanings revised where necessary, synonyms noted and cross-referenced. Someone must decide on the scope and overall coverage, the illustrations to be replaced or added, the possible changes in format. The editors of Stedman's have done their work conscientiously. More than 10,000 new definitions have been added, along with 5,000 new cross-references, while more than 13,000 definitions have been revised, all apparently with computerized control. Compared with the previous edition, the overall size has increased from 1,503 pages to 1,678, an increase due partly to a slightly larger (and, in my opinion, less pleasing) type size and partly to additional text. Many illustrations have been redrawn or totally replaced.

But whoever flips the pages, even casually, finds innumerable queries, especially when he compares this edition with the last. Why, for example, was "Edward