Melancholia accompanied by many physical complaints, most of which have little or no basis in fact.
Lexical Investigations: Hypochondriac
Hypochondriac Hypochondriac comes ultimately from the Greek word hypokhondria, which literally means “under the cartilage (of the breastbone).” In the late 16th century, when hypochondriac first entered the English language, it referred to the upper abdomen. The upper abdomen, it turns out, was thought to be the seat of melancholy at a time when the now-outdated medical theory of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow …
Lexical Investigations: Echelon
Echelon Echelon comes from the French échelon, a word whose literal meaning is “rung of a ladder.” Today the term applies generally to a level or rank of accomplishment or authority, but initially it was confined to military use in reference to a step-like formation of troops. While echelon entered English in a military context, it was the first and second World Wars that extended …
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.