To the Editor.—
Dermatology is a specialty replete with a unique and magnificent (but often obtuse) descriptive phraseology, one which can either roll mellifluously off the tongue or tumble ignominiously from the lips. Most of its terminology is, however, usually quite precise and accurate for describing a visual image.I wish to point out an instance, however, in which a colorful descriptive term is used incorrectly when considered in a precise semantic sense. The word to which I refer is "festooning," used by many dermatopathologists to describe a pathologic finding in certain diseases (eg, epidermolysis bullosa simplex, epidermolysis bullosa dystrophica, bullous pemphigoid) in which naked dermal papillae project into a vesicular or bullous void where epidermal-dermal separation has occurred.1,2 "Festoon," from which festooning originates, is defined as "a garland or wreath hanging in a curve, which is used in decoration," according to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. This obviously
Rudolph RI. Festooning or ``Crenulation''?. Arch Dermatol. 1973;107(5):775–776. doi:10.1001/archderm.1973.01620200081029
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