Medical Terms You Didn’t Know Existed

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Horripilation

While this term may sound particularly horrifying, it actually just means "goosebumps." That's right—the condition you get when you're cold or scared. The word comes from the Latin horrere, which means to stand on end.

Have you ever wondered what the "official" term is for a grumbling, hungry stomach? It's borborygmus. Colloquially, that is.

Medically, it has more to do with the intestinal rumbling due to gas. And, apparently, it's an Ancient Greek onomatopoeia, and while we don't see it, we'll take Greece's word for it. Even though it seems like an impossible word to pronounce, it's an official term in the United States, so you may want to brush up on how to say it . . . just in case.

Rhinorrhea

For our next term, we've chosen rhinorrhea. While it may sound like a common ailment that rhinos may experience after some bad Mexican food or an unfortunate one-night-stand, it actually refers to a runny nose.

The word comes from the Greek rhino, which means "of the nose," and rrhoia, which means "flow." One of the most common usages of this word is used to describe a symptom of allergies. How mundane.

While this word may sound slightly dirty, coccyx is actually just the scientific term for your tailbone. The word comes from the Greek kokkux, because the tailbone resembles the cuckoo's bill.

While this word may sound like an addiction to the film Labyrinth, it actually refers to an inner ear disorder that causes balance problems. The etymology clearly comes from the Greek labyrinthos, meaning "maze, large building with intricate passages."

While this word almost sounds like it could be the new trendy body location to pierce, it actually refers to the flowing of tears. The term comes from the Latin lacrimare, which means "weep," or from lacrima, meaning "tear."

In fact, lachrymal is one of our bonafide "fancy words." Take a look to check out some more ways to stay classy.

Itch in your nose? Maybe you're about to sternurate? The word comes from Latin and is a descendant of the verb sternuere, meaning "to sneeze." While it is an "official" term used in medical dictionaries, probably only the most pretentious doctors would use this word.

No, that word isn't what you think it is . . .

Formication actually refers to the sensation that resembles the feeling of small insects crawling on your skin. The word comes from the Latin formicatio, which means "crawl like an ant." Basically, it's a scientific way to describe that creepy-crawly feeling.

Nemesis without an n is emesis, and since it does mean "vomiting," it just may be your foe.

The etymology itself is pretty simple; it comes from the Greek emein, which means "to vomit." A common usage of the word might include: "Some patients experience emesis after surgery, so there are always basins in the recovery area." It's like it never even happened.

If you were ever diagnosed with this, you'd probably be sounding out the spelling as you typed it up on WebMD before your doctor even finished their sentence, right?

Actually, your doctor would probably be laughing as they gave you this diagnosis because the term simply refers to a cold-stimulus headache, also know as a brain freeze.

The etymology is a little more complex than the actual condition. Sphen refers to the sphenoid bone, palatine means "pertaining to the palate," gangli refers to the concentration of neural bodies known as the ganglion, neur means "nerve," and the suffix algia means "pain." That's a mouthful.

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