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February 27, 1897

The "Surfeit."

JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(9):427. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440090045014

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Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 14,1897.

To the Editor:  —Will the erudite editor of the Journal kindly inform me what is meant by the term "surfeit," as applied to the affection to which the death of medieval monarchs was commonly ascribed? We read that Henry VIII died of "a surfeit"; was this his malady, or is it a vaguely facetious reference to his uxoriousness?

Answer:  —Crapula (or cræpula). It is also κραιπαλη, a surfeit. A disorder from something taken into the stomach, and occasionally a sickness or at least a loathing of the offending matter. It sometimes signifies a plethora from indulgence and full but improper feeding, in which case perspiration is checked and eruptions formed on the skin. It is sometimes called the cholera accidentalis.—Bartholomew Parr's "London Medical Dictionary," 1819.

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