To most laymen, medical terminology can be confusing when you’re not up to date on your Latin and Greek roots. Rhinorrhea is from the Greek words rhino– meaning “of the nose,” and –rhoia meaning “a flowing.”
Other common medical terms with rino- include:
- Rinoplasty – nose surgery colloqually known as a ‘nose job.’
- Rinolalia – or rinophonia, is a nasal quality of the voice, usually associated with disease or defect of the nasal passages.
- Rinopharyngitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose and pharynx.
- Gustatory Rhinitis – inflammation or runny nose that occurs because of spicy food.
- Rhinologist – a physician who specializes in rhinology, or the nose.
Though you may not recognize these terms for common ailments, the next time you’re watching your favorite hospital drama, you can feel smug for being in the doctors’ circle of understanding.
- Obdormition – This is when part of your body, like your arm, has “fallen asleep.” The prickly, tingling sensation is referred to as paresthesia.
- Fasciculation – When muscle fibers spontaneously contract, they are commonly known as a “muscle twitch.” The Latin term means “little bundle.”
- Transient Diaphragmatic Spasm – This is known as “getting the wind knocked out of you.”
- Crepitus – This Latin term means “rattle” or “crack” and refers to the popping, creaking, and cracking of joints when you get out of bed in the morning. The word decrepit is of the same root.
- Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia – Whip this term out the next time you get a headache when eating ice cream! (click here for the pronunciation – it’s a mouthful!)
Believe it or not, healthcare professionals can have a sense of humor about medical terminologies and, in turn, do their best to explain a given condition to patients in the simplest terms. While some of the expressions below are inside jokes, most are simply trying to avoid unrecognizable titles or an explanation that includes “alphabet soup” – a reference to all the acronyms used in medical terminology.
- Butts and Guts – This refers to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in ailments or afflictions that affect the stomach, intestines, colon, rectum, gallbladder, and esophagus.
- Gas Passer – This is a humorous term for an anaesthesiologist because they often put their patients under with gas before an important or dangerous procedure.
- Flu in the Knees – In the case of arthritis, the pain a patient may be feeling when doing certain activities may be more clearly understood where the condition can have flareups similar to a bad case of the flu.
- Bloodsucker – This is medical slang for a phlebotomist, a health care professional that works with collecting a patient’s blood and properly storing it.
- Code Brown – This is a good example of insider humor, as it refers to a patient who has had a poop incident and that it is everywhere.
- Baby Catcher – Also known as an obstetrician, a baby catcher is a humorous title for a doctor who’s specialization is the practice of caring for pregnant women.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the common words eponymously named after colorful personalities! You may also be interested in the history of acronyms like SCOTUS and SNAFU, or why Pikes Peak is spelled without an apostrophe by law!
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