May 22, 2009


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.

decrudescence (day-croo-DEH-sense) n. a decrease in the progression or symptoms of a disease.

This term is derived from the Latin word crudescere, which means "to become worse." I came across decrudescence in a 19th century medical reference textbook that I purchased on eBay a few years ago. The passage was as follows:
After a period of several days, more or less, during which the symptoms mentioned, or some of them, have manifested themselves, the characteristic exanthem shows itself, and runs through a fixed cycle of development, acme, and decrudescence.
The passage, which dealt with herpes zoster (shingles), seemed overly wordy, but the medical profession has a tradition of writing in ways that laypersons struggle to understand.

You would never catch a historian writing this way.


Middle Aged Woman said...

Uh huh. Bet if I did a search on you document I'd come across decrude-scence.

historymike said...

Oh, I am sure that I have used more high-fallutin' words than this in my egghead writing.