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March 1963

Medical Terms: Their Origin and Construction

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(3):398. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620270124031

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Undergraduate medical students, physicians, and, in particular, those who are learning the craft of medical writing will find Ffrangcon Roberts' book on medical terms an excellent introduction to the subject. My copy of a recent edition was sent me by a surgical colleague in Melbourne. It is not nearly as comprehensive as Nybakken's book, but the purposes are somewhat different. It is an excellent reference book with only a few minor and very gently chiding comments on American versus English usage. There is a delightful discussion of the ways in which words change, contract, expand, transfer, reverse, and occasionally seem to arise out of nowhere or be derived from history or mythology or patients' names or doctors' names or whatnot. I have some doubt where the Kimmelstiel-Wilson syndrome would have achieved the mileage it did if it had been the Smith-Jones syndrome. Harvey Cushing, the famous neurosurgeon, who has a

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