19th Century Medical Terms

Genealogy volunteers created this list of 19th century medical terms.  The terms are organized alphabetically.

Accouchement – Process of giving birth
Adenitis – Inflammation of gland or lymph node
Ague – Fever of malarial character, a recurrent chill
Albuminuria – Presence of protein in urine
Ambustion – To burn or scorch
Amyloid – Complex protein that deposits in tissues
Amyloid Degeneration – Retrogressive change characterized by replacement or distortion of normal structure by materials having the waxy appearance and properties of amyloid
Amyloid Kidney – A kidney in which amyloid has deposited
Anasarca – Accumulation of water (Dropsy)
Anemia/Aneamia – Below normal blood
Angina Pectoris – Paroxysmal retrosternal or pericardial pain often radiating to the left shoulder & arm, due to inadequate blood & oxygen supply to heart
Anuresis – Suppression or arrest of urinary output
Aortic Regurgitation – Failure of complete closure of the aortic valve leaflets with resultant backflow of blood into left ventricle
Aphemia – Loss of motor skills and speech
Aphthae – White painful oral ulcer of unknown cause
Apnea (Apnoea)
– A cessation or suspension of breathing
Apoplexy – Gross hemorrhage
Apopnixis – To choke; lump in throat occurring in hysteria (globus hysteria)
Arachnitis – Inflammation of 3 central meninges covering the brain
Asphyxia – Unconsciousness; suffocation
– Accumulation of serous fluid in peritoneal cavity - a type of dropsy
Asthenia – Absence or loss of strength, weakness
Atelectasis – State of incomplete expansion of lungs because of their failure to expand at birth
Atrophy – Lack of nourishment
Axillary – Pertaining to armpit

Basilar Meningitis – Inflammation of the meninges affecting chiefly the base of the brain
Biliary Calculus – A solid mass formed within the biliary system, composed of bile salts, calcium, bilirubin and cholesterol in various proportions
Bright's Disease – Disease causing degeneration of the kidneys
Bronchorrhoea – Excessive discharge of mucous from bronchial mucous membranes

Cachexia – Severe general weakness, malnutrition, emaciation
Cancrum – A noma or spreading gangrene beginning in mucous membranes of mouth, nose, external auditory canals, genitalia or anus following measles in children under extremely poor conditions of hygiene & nutrition
Carbuncle – Extensive deep seated spreading stubborn infection usually staphylococcal
Carcinoma of Uterus – Cancer of uterus; malignant growth
Carditis – Inflammation of heart
Caries – Molecular death of bone or teeth
Carpopedal Spasms – Spasm of hands and feet or of thumbs and great toes associated with tetany.
Caseous Pneumonia – Exudative tuberculosis of lung that has undergone a characteristic type of necrosis; simulating cheese in its gross appearance
Catarrhal Fever – Common cold
Cellulitis – A diffuse inflammation of connective tissues especially of subcutaneous tissues
Cerebritis – Encephalitis; inflammation of cerebrum
Cholemia/Cholaemia – Hepatic encephalopathy, hepatic coma; the presence of bile in the blood 2
Cholic-Choleic – Pertaining to bile
Chorea – Twisting of face and extremities
Cirrhosis – Disease of liver
Climacteric – Menopause
Colliquative Diarrhoea – Profuse or excessive diarrhea
Convulsions – Since so many newborns died from convulsions, we believe that the use of forceps caused damage. In older children, we believe that the old remedy for fever of "sweating it out" by adding more blankets caused the fever to rise & damaged the brain
Craniotomy – Operation to reduce size of skull by cutting or breaking when delivery is otherwise impossible
Cyanosis – Inadequate oxygenation of the blood (blue baby)
Cynanche – Severe sore throat with choking brought on by diphtheria (quinsy)
Cystitis – Inflammation of bladder

Debility – Lack of Strength
Delirium Tremens – Constant Tremor
Dentition – Teething; we believe death was not caused by teething but rather by the incorrect administering of drugs by parents, doctors, druggists and midwives.
Diaphragmitis – Inflammation of diaphragm
Dipsomania – Recurrent periodic compulsion to excessive beverages
Discrasia – Abnormal state or disorder
Dissipation – Excessive drinking
Diuresis – Increased excretion of urine
Dropsy – Accumulation of water
Dyspepsia – Disturbed digestion
Dyspenea (Dyspnoea) – Difficult, labored breathing
Dysuria – Difficult or painful urination

Eclampsia – Convulsions; usually with pregnancy
Edema (or Oedema) – Excessive accumulation of fluid
Embolism – Blood clot
Empyema – The presence of pus in a cavity, hollow organ, or body space
Encephalitis – Inflammation of brain
Encephaloed – Resembling brain or brain tissue; brain like consistency
Encephaloid Tumor – Brain tumor
Encephaloma – Medullary carcinoma (poorly differentiated adeno-carcinoma, usually of breast)
Endocarditis – Inflammation of endocardium or lining of heart cavities
Endometritis – Inflammation of endometrium (mucous membrane lining of uterus)
Engorgement – Completely filled or overfilled
Enteric Fever – Typhoid fever
Entero Colitis – Inflammation of small intestine and colon
Epistaxis – Nosebleed
Epithelioma – Tumor-skin cancer, occasionally cancer of mucous membrane
Erysipelas – Streptococcal cellulitis of skin, St. Anthony's Fire
Extravasation – Passing of body fluid out of the proper place (as blood into surrounding tissues after rupture of blood vessel)

Febris Nervosa – Nerve fever
Festula/Fistula – Abnormal congenital or acquired communication between two surfaces or between a viscus or hollow structure and the exterior
Flux – Diarrhea
Foramen Ovale – Hole in heart

Gastralgia – Pain in stomach
Gastromalacia – Abnormal softening of wall of stomach
Glottides – 2 vocal folds & the space between them

Hectic Fever – A fever recurring daily accompanied by flushing, chills & sweats
Hematemesis/Haematemesis – Vomiting of blood
Hematuria (Haematuria) – Discharge of urine containing blood
Hemiplegia – Paralysis of one side of body
Hemopathy – Any disease of blood
Hemoptysis – Spitting of blood from lungs, trachea or bronchi
Hemorrhage or Haemorrhage – Excessive bleeding
Hemorrhagic Diathesis – An abnormal bleeding tendency as in hemophilia, purpura, scurvy or vitamin K deficiency
Hydrocele – Accumulation of serous fluid in a body cavity especially in the testicles.
Hydrops – Dropsy
Hydrothorax – Collection of serous fluid in pleural cavity
Hydrocephalus – Fluid within the brain
Hypertropy – Enlargement of organ
Hyphema/Hyphaema – Blood in the anterior chamber of eye
Hypoxia – Oxygen want or deficiency

Icterus – Jaundice
Ideopatic – Of obscure or unknown origin
Ileotyphlitis – Inflammation of cecum and ileum
Imperforate anus – Congenital closure of anal opening
Inanition – Starvation
Insolation – Heat stroke
Integument – A covering of skin as abdominal integuments
Intussusception – Slipping or passing of one part of intestine into another; forms sausage shape tumor in abdomen. Passage of blood and mucus per rectum
Invagination – Intussusception
Ischuria – Retention of urine

Jaundice – Yellowness of skin due to hyperbilirubinemia

Kyphosis – Angular curvature of spine

Laryngotracheitis – Inflammation of larynx
Leucocythaemia – Leuko cythemia - leukemia
Leucoemia (lukemia) – Blood cancer
Lipoma – Benign tumor
Locomotor Ataxia – see Tabes Dorsalis
Loco Motor Taxis – Tabes dorsalis
Lupus – Any chronic progressive ulcerative skin lesion
Lupus Excedens – The ulcerating type of lupus vulgaris
Lupus Vulgaris – True tuberculosis of the skin; a slow developing scarring and deforming disease

Mania a Potu – Pathological intoxication
Marasmus – Wasting away of body tissues
Mastoid Process – Blunt inferior projection of mastoid part of temporal bone
Medulla Oblongata – Part of brain attached to spinal cord
Menorrhagia – Excess menstrual flow
Metritis – Inflammation of uterus
Metroperitonitis – Inflammation of uterus and peritoneum
Mesentery – A fold of peritoneum connecting intestine with posterior abdominal wall
Mitral – Pertaining to atrioventricular valve of left side of heart
Mitral Insufficiency – Mitral regurgitation imperfect closure of mitral valve during cardiac systole, permitting blood to reenter the left atrium
Mollities Ossium – Osteomalacia; adult rickets due to lack of calcium
Morbilli – Measles
Morbus Caeruleus – Cyanotic congenital heart disease
Morbus Cox Aruis (Coxal) – Hip disease
Myelites – Inflammation of Spinal Cord

Nephritis – Inflammation of kidneys
Nephrotomy – Incision of the kidney
Neuralgia – Severe sharp stabbing paroxysmal pain along the course of a nerve
Noma – See cancrum

Obstepation – Intractable constipation
Oedema (or Edema) – Excessive accumulation of fluid
Orthopnea – Condition in which there is difficulty in breathing except when sitting or standing upright.
Osteomalacia – Adult rickets due to lack of calcium
Otitis – Inflammation of ear


Paraplegia – Paralysis of lower limbs
Parotitis (Paratites) – Inflammation of parotid gland, as in mumps
Parturition – Process of giving birth
Pemphigus – Acute or chronic condition of skin
Pericarditis – Inflammation of the pericardium
Perimetritis – Inflammation of the tissues about the uterus
Perineal Abscesses – Abscess of perineum
Perineum – Portion of body bounded by pelvic arch
Perityphlitis – Inflammation of the peritoneum surrounding the cecism and vermiform appendix
Perityphlitis Abscess – An abscess involving the tissues surrounding the cecum and vermiform appendix
Pertussis – Whooping cough
Pharyngitis – Inflammation of the pharynx
Phlebitis – Inflammation of a vein
Phlegmonous Erysipelas – Erysipelous in which there is an abscess formed
Phrenitis – Inflammation of brain, or inflammation of diaphragm, or acute delirium
Phthisis – Tuberculosis of the lungs
Placenta Prevea – Placenta superimposed up, on or about the os uteri interum producing serious hemorrhage during labor
Pleurites – Pleurisy inflammation of serous membranes enveloping the lungs and lining the internal surface of thoracic cavity
Pneumohemothorax – Presence of blood & gases in thoracic cavity
Polyp - Polypus – Smooth spherical or oval mass projecting from a membranous surface; as uterine polypus
Pott's Disease – Kyphosis resulting from tuberculous osteitis of spine
Prostatitis – Inflammation of prostate gland
Puerperal Mania – Puerperal insanity
Puerperal Peritonitis – Peritonitis following childbirth
Purpura – Condition in which hemorrhages occur in the skin mucous membranes and serous membranes and elsewhere
Pyelitis – Inflammation of the pelvis of a kidney
Pyemia (Pyaemia) – Disease due to pyogenic microorganisms - embolic abscesses
Pylorus – Circular opening of stomach into duodenum
Pyonephrosis – Replacement of a substantial portion of the kidney or all of the kidney by abscesses

Quinsy – Severe sore throat; peritonsillar abscess

Rachitis – Rickets
Remittent Fever – Fever without return to normal temperature
Retrocession – Spread of a disease from body surface to deeper areas
Rubeola – Measles

Sarcoma – Malignant Tumor
Scharlach R. Stain - Stain used to identify fat in tissue sections
Scrofula - TB of the cervical lymph nodes
Scrofulus Diathesis – ( see Scrofula) Hereditary influence. A state, condition, or tendency of the body or a combination of attributes in one individual causing a susceptibility to some abnormality or disease
Scirrhus – Hard swelling (scirrhous carcinoma)
Scurvy – Disorder caused by deficiency of vitamin C - extreme weakness, spongy gums, tendency to develop hemorrhages under the skin
Sequela – Abnormal condition following a disease - complication
Septaemia/Septicemia – A clinical syndrome characterized by a severe bacterium infection generally involving a significant invasion of the bloodstream by microorganisms from a focus or foci in the tissues and even with microorganisms multiplying in the blood
Siriasis – Sunstroke; heatstroke
Spina Bifida – A congenital defect in the closure of the vertebral canal
Stomacace – Disease of teeth & gum, ulcerative stomatitis
Stomatitis – Inflammation of soft tissue of mouth
Stricture of Esophagus – Narrowing of esophagus or closing of it depending on disease causing it
Sturma – Goiter
Submammary Abscess – An abscess lying between the mammary gland and chest wall
Summer Complaint – Similar to heat exhaustion
Suppuration – Formation of pus
Syncope – Swooning or fainting - temporary suspension of consciousness from cerebral hypoxia
Synovitis – Inflammation of synovial membranes (arthritis)

Tabes Dorsales – A form of neurosyphilis in which the myelin tissues of the nerve fibers are destroyed and sclerosis of the posterior columns of the spinal cord manifested by unsteadiness and incoordination of the voluntary movements.
Tabes Mesenterica – Infection with paroxysmal abdominal symptoms
Thrush – Small whitish spots on tongue in infants & children
Toxemia – A condition in which the blood contains poisonous products
Tracheitis – Inflammation of Trachea
Trismus – Spasm of jaw (at birth - nas centium) (tetanus)
Tubercular Diathesis – Hereditary influence, tendency or susceptibility to the disease
Tussis Convulsiva – Pertussis-Whooping Cough
Tympanites – Distention of abdomen, gas in peritoneal cavity
Typhoid Systemic – Infections caused by salmonella typhosa
Typhus Fever – Acute infectious disease caused by rickettsia (spotted fever)

Uremia (Uraemia) – Complex biochemical abnormality occurring in kidney failure

Variola – Smallpox
Varioloid – Mild form of smallpox in persons who have previously had the disease
Vulvae – External genital organs in women
Vulvitis – Inflammation of the vulva

White Swelling – Enlargement of joint or part without increased local heat or redness, usually due to tuberculosis