Dec 27, 2008


Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

valetudinarian (VAH-leh-too-dih-NAR-ee-uhn) n. someone obsessively concerned about poor health and ailments; a person who is constantly and morbidly concerned with health.

I have to admit that when I first saw this word, I assumed that it was related to valedictorian or salutatorian, and that it had something to do with commencement exercises.


The word valetudinarian is similar in meaning to "hypochondriac," except that valetudinarians tend to be obsessed with avoiding illness, whereas hypochondriacs believe that they already have a bevy of medical conditions. I came across the word in an 1899 book entitled Oriental Literature, a text that includes European ruminations about Eastern lands interspersed with English translations of Chinese and Arabic texts.

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