Hungary SIG #Hungary Re: "kahexia senitis" #hungary


In a message dated 3/10/01 7:57:40 PM Pacific Standard Time,

<< Even today we use the word "cachexia", meaning
extreme wasting, as in starvation, advanced
cancer or heart disease, etc. "Senilis" is a
Latin suffix meaning "of the elderly" and I suspect
"senitis" is a typo for that. Translation:
old and wasting away and we don't know what
he really had. >>

Dear Robert,

You are right on the mark! While the jury is still out as to why Hungarian
doctors and coroners used Latin expressions INTERCHANGEABLY with Hungarian
causes of death, I lean towards the school of thought which claims that
Hungarian medical graduates were simply so proud of their Latin knowledge
that they liked to show it every perceived opportunity... What you
so charitably attribute to a typo, I would tend to ascribe to insufficient
mastery of Latin adjectives. As to the vagueness which you so correctly
discerned in the Latin name, I can assure you that the Hungarian equivalent
is equally vague. It was not uncommon among extremely old people to simply
stop eating when they felt it was time for them to meet their Maker.
The Hungarian cause of death is then usually shown as "vegelgyengules", which
literally translated means :"final weakening".


Peter A. Gergay
San Francisco,CA

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