This list does pretend to be complete, nor does the compiler pretend to be a medical authority.
Please do NOT use this list to diagnose yourself. If you have a medical problem, get professional help!
Some of these terms are still in use today. Others have completely disappeared from normal use.
Spelling variations are common.
Hysterical inability to walk or stand.
A typhus fever noted by bluish spots on the abdomen.
Abscess of Liver:
Most often fatal infection of the liver. It is seen as a
complication of dysentery.
A suppurative collection anywhere in the body. In other words,
an area like a wound, filled with pus.
Eruption on the scalp.
A short, severe illness.
An anemic condition caused by kidney disease.
Burned or parched, usually meaning dehydration caused by fever.
Inability to swallow.
A sharp fever, most usually malaria. Chills and fever, heavy
sweating. Also called "aksis."
Gas swelled abdomen, bloated intestines.
A burn or scald.
Yellow Fever Anasarca
Generalized massive edema, or swelling in issues resulting from
the accumulation of fluid.
The joining together of bones or hard parts, also the resulting
Means "a weak old woman". Also applied to senility due to old age.
The loss of voice, from many possible causes. This condition could
be temporary or permanent. Edgar Cayce, the Kentucky Physic, had
this condition as a young man.
A seizure caused by a cerebrovascular accident. A stroke, as if
struck by the gods. A sudden paralysis.
A fluid filled abdomen. Alcoholic liver disease is the most
Sickness produced by immoderate drinking.
belladon'na, (I.) ("beautiful lady') in the Pharmacopoeia of the United
States, is the officinal* name of the leaves of Atrop Belladonna.
(Quote, "Medical Lexicon: A Dictionary of Medical Science..." by
Robley Dunglison, Richard James Dunglison, 1873, p. 121)
A cyst or ganglia usually at the wrist. This cyst would be full
of fluid. Grandpa would take the family Bible, with its big rigid
back, have you put your hand on the table, give the cyst a hardy
thump --- end of cyst!
A liquid secreted from the liver. It helps absorb and digest fat.
Usually a excessive secretion of bile.
An excessive amount of bile in the system with pain in the bowels.
An excessive amount of bile in the system with a fever. Typhoid
was occasionally called "bilious fever" in eighteenth century
Europe, and yellow fever was called "autumnal bilious fever" in
1668 New York.
Also see as bilious pneumonia; bilious remittent fever; bilious
typhoid fever; occasionally seen misspelled as billows fever;
Bubonic plague. It is carried by fleas that live on vermin. 1347
to 1351, it killed a quarter of the population of Europe.
Disease from breathing coal dust.
Black small pox.
Malaria in which the urine turns dark blue or black.
Bleed, Bleeding, Bloodletting:
To draw blood, so as to remove "bad blood."
A medicine prescribed, made, and sold in the United States in the 1800s.
It was used as "a remedy for such widely varied complaints as tuberculosis,
constipation, toothache, parasitic infestations, and the pains of childbirth.
It was a magistral preparation, compounded by pharmacists themselves based
on their own recipes or on one of several widespread recipes."
Blue mass recipes varied with mercury being one of the major ingredients.
It could also contain licorice, Althaea, glycerol, rose honey, blue chalk,
A sweat accompanied by a discharge of blood.
Breakbone fever, dengue fever:
So named "breakbone fever" by Dr. Benjamin Rush when the
disease swept over Philadelphia in 1780. See "Dengue, dengue
A flow of relatively fresh blood, usually from the bowels,
often accompanied by diarrhea.
Meningitis or encephalitis.
Nephritis, kidney complaint, sclerosis of the kidney. Causes
cerebral hemorrhage, loss of sight, hard pulse,
edema, bronchitus, high blood pressure.
Usually a cystic goiter, or an enlargement of the goiter,
could be caused by an iodine deficiency in the diet.
Mercury(I) chloride, aka, mercurous chloride. Calomel was taken internally
and used as a laxative and disinfectant before the 20th century. It had
widespread usage during the Civil War and cause lifetime medical problems
for the soldiers.
A condition commonly found among soldiers caused by a filthy camp
environment, lack of bathing, and assorted parasites. A well
know malady during the Civil War.
Rabies, a.k.a., hydrophobia.
An ulcerous sore of the mouth and lips. Herpes simplex.
A Latin term meaning 'death's head'. In alchemy, Caput Mortuum signified a
useless substance left over from a chemical operation such as sublimation;
alchemists represented this residue with a stylized human skull, a literal
Caput Mortuum is a pigment used in oil painting, etc. and is closely related
to mummy, a pigment and 'medicine' made from powdered mummies. (See mummy
A large boil, or a skin cancer or other tumour.
Inflammation of the heart wall.
Seizures or trances
Catarrh (catarrhal bronchitis):
Inflammatory affection of a mucous membrane, especially the
nose and air passages.
The term for the group of respiratory tract diseases including
the common cold, influenza, and lobular and lobar pneumonia.
Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
Meningitis, inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal
cord. Caused by various viruses and bacteria. Babies and young
children are especially susceptible.
Chicken pox, chickenpox, /varicella-zoster/ virus (VZV):
This virual infection causes "dew drop on a rose petal" lesions,
which typically occur first on the face and trunk. Children between
5 and 9 years of age are most commonly affected. The most common
infectious complication is secondary bacterial superinfection by
Strep pyogenes or Staph aureus. Shingles may occur many years later
caused when the dormant /varicella-zoster/ virus becomes re-activated.
Child Bed Fever:
Usually, Puerperal Sepsis. A disease of women in labor.
Often caused by the unwashed hands of the untrained midwife
or unclean conditions. Child Bed Fever is a killer.
Inflammation of the hands and feet caused by exposure to cold
and moisture. It is also called "pernio."
When given as a cause of death, malaria or pneumonia.
Iron deficiency anemia.
An acute, infectious disease characterized by profuse diarrhea,
vomiting, and cramps. Cholera is spread by feces-contaminated
water and food. Major epidemics struck the United States in the
years 1832, 1849, and 1866. The last major epidemic in the U.S.
east was 1866.
Not a disease, but simply a cot with hole cut in the middle.
A bucket would be placed under the cot. The colera patient
is placed on the cot.
A common, noncontagious diarrhea of young children, occurring
in summer or autumn. Common among the poor and in hand-fed
babies. Death frequently occurred in three to five days.
Synonyms: summer complaint, weaning brash, water gripes, choleric
fever of children, cholera morbus.
Chorea (St. Vitus' Dance, etc.):
A generic term used to identify any nervous disorder.
Having long duration.
Pural of Colon.
Ague, characterized by chills.
Abdominal pain and cramping. A common condition effecting 10% of
A state of profound unconsciousness.
A hard blow to the head causing cerebral malfunction.
Existing at the time of birth.
Congestive heart failure: Spanish, insuficiencia cardíaca congestiva.
Congestion of the Brain:
This may be a term that covers more than one disease.
Edgar Allan Poe died of "Congestion of the Brain," 1849 in Baltimore
Maryland. It is said he was found drunk and had a brain lesion
"Helen Keller was born a healthy child. When Helen was 19 months old,
she became ill with what was known as acute congestion of the brain
and stomach; this is now known as scarlet fever."
Cold, shivering, can lead to pneumonia.
Conjunctivitis, a.k.a., red eye, pink eye:
Conjunctivitis is caused by the introduction of either bacterial
or viral microorganisms into the eye.
Consumption (phthisis pulmonalia, pulmonary tuberculosis):
Tuberculosis. The term "Consumption" was commonly used in
the days when there was no effective treatment of the disease.
Here the body was consumed or gradually wasted away.
A cold. See catarrh.
Mental retardation due to congenitally under-active thyroid.
Overextended stomach from over eating. Perhaps reflux oesophagitis?
An obstructive condition of the larynx (voice box) or trachea
(windpipe), characterized by a hoarse, barking cough and difficult
breathing occurring chiefly in infants and children. In the early
nineteenth century it was called cynanche trachealis.
Synonyms: roup, hives, choak, stuffing, rising of the lights.
Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood.
Diseases of throat.
Inflammation of the bladder.
See: Mad Hatter's disease.
A fever lasting one day, sweating sickness.
Abnormal bodily weakness or feebleness; decay of strength. May
be applied to weakness of body, or feebleness of the mind, i.e.,
Feebleness due to old age.
Hallucinations due to alcoholism.
Dementia is loss of intellectual abilities such as memory
capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational
Dengue, dengue fever:
Infectious fever, endemic to East Africa, the Americas, and
South-east Asia. It is a mosquito-carried disease that would
overwhelm humans, causing headaches, eye pain, and a swelling
achiness of the joints. By the 1940s, this disease was controled
by earlier mosquito eradication programs to eliminate yellow fever
carrying mosquitos. (See: "Breakbone fever")
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (dengue-2):
A new mosquito-carried disease related to to older dengue fever. It
first ocurred in Manila, 1953, then in Bangkok, 1958, and Havana, 1981.
By 1987, it was reported in seventeen U.S. states.
Cutting of teeth in babies.
Diarrhea is usually defined as frequent and-or loose stools. It
can be either acute or chronic.
Diarrhea / Lax:
A gastro-intestinal disease.
A short term fever, usually of a one day duration.
An acute infectious disease acquired by contact with an infected
person or a carrier of the disease. It was usually confined to the
upper respiratory tract (throat) and characterized by the formation
of a tough membrane (false membrane) attached firmly to the underlying
tissue that would bleed if forcibly removed.
Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose
and throat, anorexia.
Dropsy (a contraction for hydropsy):
Disease causing fluids in the serous cavities. Referred to
a swelling, whether general or localized. The presence of
abnormally large amounts of fluid. Congestive heart failure.
Dropsy of the brain:
Abdominal pain due to lead poisoning from lead containing medicines.
The death of tissue due to vascular insufficiency without bacterial
invasion. The tissue just dries up and shrivels.
An abnormal body condition.
Infectious disease marked by inflammation and ulceration
of the lower part of the bowels and diarrhea.
Deranged or impaired digestion - indigestion. (May be a
symptom of a heart attack).
Difficulty in urination.
Peptic ulcer, pain occurs soon after eating.
A form of leprosy.
Swelling of brain; a.k.a., sleeping sickness.
Inflammation of the small intestine and colon.
Inflammation of the intestines, or could also take the
form of enteric fever (typhoid).
Inflammation of the intestines.
Inflammation of the bowels.
Epilepsy: A disorder of the nervous system, characterized either by
mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petittnal) or by severe
convulsions with loss of consciousness (grand mal - epileptic spasms).
Ersipelas, Erysipelas, Erysipelas:
Acute infectious disease - recognized by a deep reddening
of the skin. A disease of the skin, with general fever,
tension, and swelling of the part.
Cirrhosis of the liver.
Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity.
Dysentery. An excessive flow or discharge from the bowels,
i.e., hemorrhage or diarrhea.
The death of body tissue due to the loss of blood supply to that
tissue, sometimes permitting bacteria to invade it and accelerate
Inflammation of the small intestine.
A common protozoal infection of the small intestine spread via
contaminated food and water and direct person-to-person contact.
A sexually transmitted disease; inflammation of genital mucous
membranes caused by the bacteria /gonococcus/.
A noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland, visible as a
swelling at the front of the neck, that is often associated
with iodine deficiency.
A disturbance of uric-acid metabolism occurring predominantly in
males, characterized by painful inflammation of the joints,
especially of the feet and hands.
Granular/sand-like material forming the substance of the
urinary calculi and passed in the urine.
A disorder of the thyroid gland.
Great white plague:
Chlorosis, an iron-deficiency anemia especially of adolescent
girls that may impart a greenish tint to the skin.
Gripe, Grippe, Grip, La Grippe:
Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour.
Pimples on the nose in acne rosacea.
See Mad Hatter's Disease.
Blood in the urine.
Spitting up of blood
Herpes, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1)
A virus that can cause painful "cold sores" or blisters on the lips
("fever blisters") or in the mouth or around the eyes. The symptomatic
disease stage occurs at unpredictable intervals of weeks, months or
years. The latent (inactive) virus can reactivate due to emotional
stress, physical trauma, other infections, or suppression of the immune
system. HSV-1 responds well to treatment with acyclovir.
(Source: National AIDS Treatment Activist Forum)
The hookworm is a parasitic nematode worm (Necator americanus or American
Murderer) that lives in the small intestine of its host. Hookworms spread
by fecal contamination of the environment (soil). Hookworm became epidemic
during the Civil War especially in the Southern armies where there was a
serious shortage of shoes and many of the soldiers went barefoot. Being
barefoot, they easily fell victim to hookworm infection.
Delirium tremens. An acute episode of delirium (accute shaking) that is
usually caused by withdrawal or abstinence from alcohol following habitual
excessive drinking. Can be fatal.
Humors (also seen as "Constitutional Humors" on old medicine bottle labels):
A theory of workings of the human body believed well into the nineteenth
century by many physicians wordwide.
"The theory held that the human body was filled with four basic substances,
called four humours, or humors, which are in balance when a person is healthy.
All diseases and disabilities resulted from an excess or deficit of one of
these four humors. The four humors were identified as black bile, yellow bile,
phlegm, and blood."
Fluid around the heart, also called epricardial dropsy.
Abnormal collection of brain fluid, also called dropsy.
Hyperthrophy of heart:
Enlargement of the heart.
Jaundice. The symptoms are a yellowing of eyes and skin.
(In Greek, ikteros means both jaundice and "yellow bird.")
See: Yellow jaundice.
A human being destitute of the ordinary intellectual powers,
whether congenital, developmental, or accidental; commonly,
a person without understanding from birth; a natural fool;
a natural; an innocent.
(Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary - 1913)
Intestinal obstruction due to paralysis of the gut.
Also called intestinal Colic.
A condition wherein the patient has been depleted by the
lack of nourishment. Most commonly found in reference to
infants and the elderly. It signified death from the
inability to assimilate food, usually caused by illness,
or, in the case of infants, premature birth.
Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe." A world wide disaster.
Information of . . .:
. . . an inflamation.
Addicted to an excessive or habitual use of alcoholic liquors.
Reoccurring. A stop and go action. As with an intermittent
fever that rises and falls, only to rises again.
Pain throughout the abdomen, caused often by improper diet.
Tightening due to pressure or changes in intestinal walls.
Intero Sas Ception, Interssusception:
Part of the intestine has slipped into the area below it
like a telescope.
In viva, in vivus:
At birth - sometimes to note a child who has died at birth.
Typhus Jaundice, a condition caused by blockage of intestines .
Eyes or skin become yellowed from bile in the blood.
Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands.
Influenza or flu.
A looseness; diarrhea.
Muscle paralysis due to abnormal amount of lead in the
Leech, /hirudo medicinalis/, a.k.a., medicinal leech:
The leech is a fresh water amphibious parasite. Adults feed on the
blood of mammals. It attaches to the host by means of its two suckers
and bites through the skin of its victim. Simultaneously, the leech
injects an anaesthetic so that its presence is not detected, and an
anticoagulant in order for the incision to remain open during
the meal. The leech has historically been used for medicinal
purposes, mainly to remove "bad blood" from the patient.
Around 1850 this practice fell into disrepute. Today this species
is used to relieve pressure and restore circulation in tissue
grafts where blood accumulation is likely such as severed fingers
(Source: Kathy Silverstein)
Cirrhosis of the liver.
A rheumatic pain in the loins and the small of the back.
Did not necessarily mean insane: also referred to senility
or those with some affliction from birth.
Lung fever, lung sckness:
Time of delivery of a baby.
Mad Hatter's disease:
Erythism. Mercury poisoning, causing a plethora of physical and
psychiatric complaints. The term "Mad Hatter" is from the
character in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." The character
was based on the English felt and hat makers who used mercury in
processing the beaver fur and thereby going insane because of it.
In Danbury CT, the hat makers got the "Danbury Shakes."
Malaria is both an acute and chronic disease caused by protozoa
of the genus /Plasmodium/. The protozoa are transmitted to
humans by female mosquitoes of the genus /Anopheles/. Any area
harboring Anopheles mosquitoes may be at risk for malaria
transmission. Malaria transmission occurs in more than 100
countries. Regions include Africa, Asia, islands of the South,
west, and central Pacific Ocean, Latin America, certain
Caribbean islands, and Turkey.
(Source: Navy Environmental Health Center)
Malaria existed in parts of the United States from colonial times
to the 1940s. One of the first military expenditures of the
Continental Congress, around 1775, was for $300 to buy quinine
to protect General Washington's troops. In the summer of 1828 "swamp
fever" broke out in the settlement of Bytown (Ottawa) and along the
construction route of the Rideau Canal. According to some accounts,
the "malaria" was not native to North America but had been
introduced by infected British soldiers who had returned from
India. Numerous deaths had occurred by the time the epidemic
subsided in September when the mosquitoes disappeared. During the
American Civil War (1861-65), one half of the white troops and
80% of the black soldiers of the Union Army got malaria annually.
More than an estimated 600,000 cases of malaria occurred in the U.S.
in 1914, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Source: The History of Malaria, Robert S. Desowitz)
Malarial or intermittent fever characterized by stages of chills,
fever, and sweating at regularly recurring times, followed by an
interval or intermission whose length determines the epithets:
quotidian, tertian, quartan, and quintan ague.
The disease was known as "fever and ague," "chill fever,"
"the shakes," and by names specific to the locality in which it was
prevalent, such as, "swamp fever" (in Louisiana), "Panama fever,"
and "Chagres fever."
Progressive emaciation. In infants, it was associated with
Probably a mis-spelling of measles.
A hoarse, ringing cough, it could be fatal if the membrane
blocked the trachea.
Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge.
Poisonous vapors believed to infect the air.
Milk Sickness, Milksick, Milk sick:
Milksick is not actually a disease, but a form of poisoning.
Cows ingest the leaves of the white snakeroot plant and pass
along its toxin in their milk. A Milksick Hollow appears in
both Franklin and Grundy Counties Tennessee. A Milk Sick
Mountain appears in White County Tennessee. Milk sickness is
Latin word for disease.
Powdered remains of a mummy, preferably an Egyptan mummy. Used as
medicine and as a color in artists' oil paint.
"Mum'my, Mu'mia, (Arab. Moumya, from mum, 'wax,') Rebolea,
Rebona, Sceleteu'ma, (F,) Momie.
A dead body simply dried, or dried after having been embalmed. The
latter acceptation is the most common. Formerly, the Egyptian mummy
was extolled as useful in contusions. It was presumed, also, to have
healing, tonic, and resolvent properties. It is now only regarded as
an archaical curiosity."
Source: "Medical Lexicon: A Dictionary of Medical Science..." by
Robley Dunglison, Richard James Dunglison, 1873, p. 673
Mumps, /myxo virus/:
Mumps is an infectious disease which causes enlargement of the two
salivary glands in the cheeks at the angle of the jaw. It may also
cause inflammation of the pancreas and also, inflammation of the
central nervous system i.e. meningitis, encephalitis or myelitis.
Inflammation of the spine.
Mortification of bones or tissue.
Inflammation of the kidneys.
A low form of fever characterized by great disturbance of the
nervous system, as evinced by delirium, or stupor, disordered
Extreme exhaustion caused from the inability to control
physical and mental activities.
Sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves.
A neurotic condition characterized by worry, disturbances
of digestion and circulation and attributed to emotional
conflict and feelings of inferiority.
Death or dead.
Paralysis or loss of muscle control.
A plant or organism that lives on or in the host, deriving nourishment
from it. Some cause inflammation, but others cause infection and
destroy tissue. Human parasites include fungi, yeast, bacteria,
protozoa, worms and viruses.
(Source: National AIDS Treatment Activist Forum)
Abnormal sensations: numbness, burning, tingling.
A most common infection of the hand. It is a superficial infection
of epithelium lateral to the nail plate. An untreated infection
can spread to the deep spaces of the hand and beyond.
Inflammation or swelling of the parotid gland. Mumps.
Labor or the process of childbirth.
"A loathsome skin disease, it was called mal de la rosa and often mistaken
for leprosy. Although it was not conclusively identified in the United
States until 1907, there are reports of illness that could be pellagra as
far back as the 1820s. In the United States, pellagra has often been called
the disease of the four D's -- dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death."
(Source: Office of NIH History)
" The traditional food preparation method of corn, nixtamalization, by
native New World cultivators, who had domesticated corn, required
treatment of the grain with lime, an alkali. It has now been shown that
the lime treatment makes niacin nutritionally available and reduces the
chance of developing pellagra. When corn cultivation was adopted
worldwide, this preparation method was not accepted because the benefit
was not understood. The original cultivators, often heavily dependent on
corn, did not suffer from pellagra. Pellagra became common only when
corn became a staple that was eaten without the traditional treatment.
"In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the
Perricarde (as seen in Mortality Schedules) a.k.a pericardial effusion. Water
around the heart, an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardial
Phlegmon, Pancreatic Phlegmon:
Complication of Acute Pancreatitis.
Chronic wasting away, tuberculosis. Blakiston: "1) Old term
for tuberculosis. 2) Old term for any disease characterized
by emaciation and loss of strength, especially diseases of
Tuberculosis, consumption. A chronic wasting.
Destruction of the jawbone by phosphorus poisoning.
Seen in workers in match factories.
A pseudo-science of the 19th century, created by L. N. Fowler
Dealing with the lungs.
Piles are swollen but normally present blood vessels in and around
the anus and lower rectum that stretch under pressure, similar to
varicose veins in the legs. Contributing factors include pregnancy,
aging, and chronic constipation or diarrhoea.
Disease of teething infants due to mercury poisoning from
Plague, Black Death:
Inflammation of the lung, accompanied by chest pain.
Inflammation of the lungs. A major killer.
Degeneration of the vertebrae, often resulting in curvature
of the spine.
Death from childbirth.
Septic poisoning occurring sometimes during childbirth.
Pulmonary Artery (A. Pulmonalis). We often see as a cause of
death, "Phthisis Pulmonalis."
Livid spots on the skin from extravasated blood, with languor
or loss of muscular strength, and pain in the limbs.
Diptheria or typhus.
Putrid sore throat:
Ulceration of an acute form, attacking the tonsils.
A period of isolation. Originally for forty days.
Quick with child:
Pregnancy, from about the forth or fifth month, when the mother
can feel the fetus kick.
A "peritonsillar abscess," or an abscess behind the tonsil.
Can be fatal.
Quotidian, Quotidianna, Quotidianae:
A daily occurrence.
Remitting, Remitten, Remitting fever:
Various disorders associated with pain in the joints.
Disease of the skeletal system resulting from a deficiency of calcium
or vitamin D in the diet, or from lack of sunlight.
Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy.
Acne Rosacea, Roseola, a.k.a., "false measles."
A popular term for hernia.
Scarlet fever - sometimes used in describing it in children.
A disease characterized by a red rash and sores.
A type of Tuberculosis, effects lymph nodes of the neck.
Weakened, spongy gums, hemorrhages under skin due to lack
of vitamin C.
Blood poisoning, often fatal.
Delirium tremens, related to alcohol abuse.
A viral disease with skin blisters, caused by the
Chicken Pox virus.
Inflammation of the brain caused by exposure to the sun.
Small Pox, smallpox:
One of the most infectious and deadly diseases in the world, now
seen only in controlled labratories for study and germ warfare
research. There are two forms of small pox virus: variola major
and variola minor, wtih the "major" strain beening a far worse
The small pox virus is found in lesions in the upper respiratory
tract, which can be transmitted by droplet secretions, and skin
lesions. The virus is considered to be highly contagious, however,
the route of transmission makes its spread relatively slow.
Small Pox has sometimes been mis-diagnosed as syphilis.
Softening of the Brain:
Apoplexy, a stroke, a sudden paralysis.
Spina Bifida is a fault in the spinal column in which one or more
vertebrae (the bones which form the backbone) fail to form properly,
leaving a gap or split. The majority of babies born with spina
bifida have hydrocephalus.
(See: Water on the brain, /hydrocephalus/)
Typhus, cerebrospinal meningitis fever.
St. Anthony's fire:
Shingles, caused by the same varicella-zoster virus that causes
St. Vitus Dance:
Movement disorder due to any of several diseases of the nervous
system, characterized by jerky movements that appear to be well
coordinated but are performed involuntarily, mainly of the face
and extremities. Often a complication of a streptococcal
infection. Primarily a children's disease.
An immediate and most often unexpected death caused by heart
attack, stroke, etc.
Suicide with Laudanum:
Suicide by using Laudanum, an opium preparation, sometimes
mixed in alcohol.
Another name for dysentery. It was known as such because of its
high incidence in summertime. Along with cholera infantum, it
was highly infectious and was usually the result of unsanitary
Could be a light case of tuberculosis. May have been applied
to other illnesses such as summer complaint.
Possibly malaria, typhoid or encephalitis.
Infectious & fatal disease most common to the British Isles
in the 15th century.
A venereal disease, sexually transmitted.
Tuberculosis of the mesenteric glands in children, resulting in
digestive derangement and wasting of the body.
Teething, Cutting Teeth:
The entire process which results in the eruption of the teeth.
Listed in Morality Schedules as a cause of infant death.
Candida of the mouth. A disease characterized by whitish
spots and ulcers on the membranes of the mouth, tongue, and
fauces caused by a parasitic fungus. Synonyms: aphthae,
sore mouth, aphthous stomatitis.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever /Rickettsia rickettsi/. Despite the
name, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is most prevalent in the
Appalachian Mountains. It is a *tick-borne* rickettsia which invades
both endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. Patients are
systemically sick, and the vasculitis can be fatal if untreated.
The ticks may attach themselves to any part fot the body. Look
for them everywhere. Check your clothes.
Toxemia of Pregnancy:
Eclampsia, high blood pressure and seizures.
Painful ulcers along gum line, usually caused by poor nutrition
and poor hygiene
It is an diseases caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can affect
almost all the systems of the body. The most common affecion is the
respiratory system. See: Consumption.
Typhoid (typhoid fever):
Often caused by unsanitary water conditions and contaminated
food or milk. Flies could carry the disease and contaminate
food supplies. It was more common in swampy areas where shallow
wells could become contaminated.
May mean either Enteric Fever (typhoid Fever) with pulmonary
complications, or pneumonia with so-called typhoid symptoms.
Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and
Gas from the bowels, flatulence.
The opening of a vein for letting blood; phlebotomy.
A varicose vein of the vein of the testicle
A dilated (enlarged) vein.
A sexually transmitted disease, a.k.a., a "social disease."
St. Vitus dance, chorea
A wound caused by a cut.
Want of breath:
Perhaps this was sleep apnea which is associated with irregular
heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Water on the brain, /hydrocephalus/:
Caused by the inability of cerebro-spinal fluid to drain into
the bloodstream. Babies born prematurely are at risk of developing
Tuberculosis of the bone.
Whooping Cough, Hooping Cough:
A a highly contagious disease of the respiratory system, usually
affecting children, that is characterized in its advanced stage
by spasms of coughing interspersed with deep, noisy inspirations.
An inflammation of the fingers or toes, generally of the last
phalanx, terminating usually in suppuration. The inflammation
may occupy any seat between the skin and the bone, but is usually
applied to a felon or inflammation of the periosteal structures
of the bone.
(Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary - 1913)
Whitlow is also a condition of the hoofs of horses.
Infection of the uterus.
Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature
Worms, Tape Worms:
Yellow Fever, a.k.a., Yellow Jack, Yellow Jacket:
Yellow fever is a devastating viral disease transmitted by the
yellowfever mosquito, /Aedes aegypti/ (L.). The disease originated
in Africa and spread to the New World during the slave trade in the
1500s. Epidemics occurred in the United States from 1794. Coastal
towns in the United States were particularly vulnerable to the disease
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It caused major problems
in the building of the Panama Canal. The last epidemic of yellow fever
in North America occurred in New Orleans in 1905 during which more
than 3000 cases were met with 452 deaths. Mild symptoms include
headaches, fever, muscular pains, and nausea. Yellow fever can cause
bleeding from the eyes, nostrils, anus and other mucous membranes.
This terrible illness often causes dangerously high fevers,
severe headaches, muscular pains, jaundice, black blood-filled
vomiting, deterioration of the liver, kidneys, and the heart.
Yellow fever can lead to delirium, coma, and death.
Hepatitis A. It is a viral disease which affects the liver. It
occurs most often in school children and young adults. It may be
known as infectious hepatitis. The illness usually begins with a
sudden onset of fever (high temperature), feeling unwell, loss of
appetite, nausea, and stomach pain which may be followed within a
few days by jaundice: a yellow discolouration of the whites of the
eyes and often the skin. Children may have mild infections without
jaundice and often show no symptoms at all whilst adults can be
more severely affected.
It is an infectious disease and is most commonly spread from person
to person by infected faeces (stools). The faeces are infectious for
a week before the person becomes ill and for about a week after the
jaundice appears. It may also spread by contaminated food or water.
(Source: SEeLH Resource Centres, Communicable Disease Control - UK)
Other diseases or conditions may cause a yellow jaundice effect.
Example: Cirrhosis (irreversible damage to the liver cells caused
by many different factors) may cause jaundice.
Reference sources for definitions:
Garrett, Laurie, The Coming Plague, newly emerging diseases in a world
out of balance. Farr, Straus, and Giroux, 1994; Penguin, 1995, +.
William S. Haubrich, MD, FACP, Medical Meanings, American College of
Physicians, Philadelphia, PA 1984, 1997.
Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary - 1913
Sources for the old names:
Bloom, Kaled J., "The Mississippi Valley's Great Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878"
publiched by Louisiana State University Press, 1993
Cunningham, Horace Herndon, "Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical
Service." Paperback, 1993.
Daniel, Larry J., "Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee" published by University of
North Carolina Press, 1991.
Dictionary of Regional American English, Vols, I, II, III & IV.
Frederic G. Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall Editors. First four volumes, A-Sk,
1985-2002. Belnap Press of Harvard University Press.
Dunglison, Robley, M.D., LL.D.,A, "Medical Lexicon. Dictionary of Medical Science;
Containing a Concise Explanation of the Various Subjects and Terms of Anatomy,
Physiology, Pathology, Hygiene, Therapeutics, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Surgery,
Obstetrics, Medical Jurisprudence, And Dentistry; Notices Of Climate, and of
Mineral Waters; Formulae for Officinal, Empirical, and Dietetic Preparations;
With the Accentuation and Etymology of the Terms. And the French and Other
Synonymes; so as To Constitute a French as Well as English Medical Lexicon."
Published by Henry C. Lea, Philadelphia, PA, 1865.
(Twelve editions were printed, eleven with revisions, 1846-1876)
Tennessee Mortality Schedules (1850, 1860, 1880) Published by Byron
Sistler and Asscoiates, Nashville TN 1984, 1993.