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Linguistics 101 – Where did some clinical terms originate?


Cancer= crab

Greek physician Hippocrates noted that some tumors with swollen veins look like crabs. The zodiac sign of Cancer also gets its name from the constellation’s resemblance to a crab.



Vascular= relating to blood vessels such as arteries and veins

Cardiovascular diseases are diseases that affect the heart and/or blood vessels.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes= a passer through; siphon

Mellitus= sweet

Diabetes patients are known to urinate frequently (such as the passing of fluid through a siphon), and this urine is often rich in sugars which cannot be absorbed by the body.


Osteo= of the bone

Arthro= joint

Itis= inflammation

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the bones and joints become inflamed and painful.

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