Abasia: Hysterical inability to walk or stand.
Achor: Eruption on the scalp.
Addison’s disease: A disease characterised by severe weakness, low blood pressure, and a bronzed coloration of the skin, due to decreased secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland. Dr. Thomas Addison (1793-1860), born near Newcastle, England, described the disease in 1855. Synonyms: Morbus addisonii, bronzed skin disease.
A ffrighted: Frightened to death. Probably a stress-induced heart attack or stroke.
Ague: Any intermittent fever characterised by periods of chills, fevers and sweats. Most commonly identified as malaria. Malarial Fever. Malarial or intermittent fever characterised by paroxysms (stages of chills, fever, and sweating at regularly recurring times) and followed by an interval or intermission whose length determines the epithets: quotidian, tertian, quartan, and quintan ague (defined in the text). Popularly, the disease was known as "fever and ague," "chill fever," "the shakes," and by names expressive of the locality in which it was prevalent—such as, "Swamp fever" (in Louisiana), "Panama fever," and "Chagres fever."
Ague-cake: A form of enlargement of the spleen, resulting from the action of malaria on the system.
Ægrotantem: Illness, sickness.
Ainhum: Stricture resulting from minor cuts at the base of a digit eventually resulting in amputation.
Aleppo Boil: Leishmaniasis.
American plague: Yellow fever.
Anasarca: Generalized massive edema. Generalised massive dropsy.
Ancome: A whitlow, an ulcerous swelling.
Anthracosis: Lung disease caused by inhalation of coal dust. A form of pneumoconiosis.
Aphtha: The infant disease "thrush".
Apoplex / Apoplexy: Paralysis due to stroke.
Asphycsia/Asphicsia: Cyanotic and lack of oxygen.
Atheroma: Slow degeneration of arteries when fatty deposits collect on the inner lining.
Atrophy: Wasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad Blood: Syphilis.
Barber's Itch: Infection of the hair follicles of the beard area.
Bilious fever: A term loosely applied to intestinal fevers and malarial fever. Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis.
Biliousness: Jaundice associated with liver disease. A complex of symptoms comprising nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache, and constipation—formerly attributed to excessive secretion of bile from the liver.
Black Death: Bubonic plague.
Black fever: Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate.
Black plague: Bubonic plague.
Black pox: Black Small pox.
Black vomit: Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever.
Blackwater fever: Dark urine associated with high temperature. Severe form of malaria in which the urine contains so much blood it appears black.
Bladder In Throat: Diphtheria.
Boil: An abscess of skin or painful, circumscribed inflammation of the skin or a hair follicle, having a dead, pus-forming inner core, usually caused by a staphylococcal infection. Synonym: furuncle.
Bloody Flux: Dysentery involving a discharge of blood. Bloody stools.
Blood poisoning: Bacterial infection; septicæmia.
Bloody sweat: Sweating sickness.
Bone shave: Sciatica.
Brain fever: Meningitis or typhus.
Breakbone: Dengue fever.
Break Bone Fever: Dengue fever.
Bright's disease: Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys.
Bronze John: Yellow fever.
Bule: Boil, tumor or swelling.
Cachæmia: Any blood disease.
Cacogastric: Upset stomach.
Cacospysy: Irregular pulse.
Caduceus: Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy.
Camp Diarrhœa: Typhus.
Camp fever: Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea.
Cancrum Oris: A severe, destructive, eroding ulcer of the cheek and lip, rapidly proceeding to sloughing. In the last century it was seen in delicate, ill-fed, ill-tended children between the ages of two and five. The disease was the result of poor hygiene acting upon a debilitated system. It commonly followed one of the eruptive fevers and was often fatal. The destructive disease could, in a few days, lead to gangrene of the lips, cheeks, tonsils, palate, tongue, and even half the face; teeth would fall from their sockets, and a horribly fetid saliva flowed from the parts. Synonyms: canker, water canker, noma, gangrenous stomatitis, gangrenous ulceration of the mouth.
Canine Madness: Rabies, hydrophobia.
Canker: A severe, destructive, eroding ulcer of the cheek and lip. It commonly followed one of the eruptive fevers and was often fatal. Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex.
Carbuncle: A large boil.
Catalepsy: Seizures / trances.
Catarrh: Inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the air passages of the head and throat, with a free discharge. It is characterised by cough, thirst, lassitude, fever, watery eyes, and increased secretions of mucus from the air passages. Bronchial catarrh was bronchitis; suffocative catarrh was croup; urethral catarrh was gleet; vaginal catarrh was leukorrhea; epidemic catarrh was the same as influenza. Synonyms: cold, coryza.
Catarrhal: Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy.
Cerebritis: Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning.
Child Bed (Fever): Infection in the mother following birth of a child, probably due to staphylococcus.
Chilblain: Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold.
Chin cough: Whooping cough.
Chlorosis: Iron deficiency anemia.
Cholecystitus: Inflammation of the gall bladder.
Cholelithiasis: Gall stones.
Cholera: An acute, infectious disease characterised by profuse diarrhœa, vomiting, and cramps. It is spread by fæces-contaminated water and food. Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing.
Cholera Infantum: A common, non-contagious diarrhœa of young children, occurring in summer or autumn. Death frequently occurred in three to five days.
Cholera Morbus: Illness with vomiting, abdominal cramps and elevated temperature, etc. Possibly appendicitis.
Chorea: Involuntary twitching of the muscles and uncoordinated movements. Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing.
Chrisome: A child in the first month of life.
Cold Plague: Ague characterised by chills.
Colic: Convulsive pain in the abdomen or bowels. An abdominal pain and cramping.
Congestion: An excessive or abnormal accumulation of blood or other fluid in a body part or blood vessel. Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs.
Congestive chills: Malaria with diarrhea.
Congestive fever: Malaria.
Consumption: Tuberculosis. A wasting away of the body; formerly applied especially to pulmonary tuberculosis. The disorder is now known to be an infectious disease caused by the bacterial species Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Synonyms: marasmus (in the mid-nineteenth century), phthisis.
Contagious Pyrexia: Dysentery.
Corruption: General term for infection.
Coryza: A cold.
Cow Pox: A non-fatal disease similar to smallpox, affecting cattle and transmissible to humans. Used to produce the first vaccinations.
Cramp Colic: Appendicitis.
Crop sickness: Overextended stomach.
Croup: Any obstructive condition of the larynx or trachea, characterised by a hoarse, barking cough and difficult breathing. It occurs chiefly in infants and children. Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat.
Cut of the Stone: The surgical removal of a bladder stone.
Cyanosis: Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood.
Cynanche: Diseases of throat.
Cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder.
Day Fever: Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness.
Debility: Lack of movement or staying in bed.
Decrepitude: Feebleness due to old age.
Decubitis: Died in bed.
Delirium tremens: Hallucinations due to alcoholism. Results from alcoholic intoxication and is represented by a picture of confusion, terror, restlessness and hallucinations. Commonly know as ‘the DTs’.
Dengue: Infectious fever endemic to East Africa.
Dentition: Cutting (eruption) of teeth.
Deplumation: Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss.
Diary fever: A fever that lasts one day.
Diphtheria: A serious infectious disease that attacks any mucous membrane, although it normally affects the throat or nose. Contagious disease of the throat.
Distemper: Disturbed condition of the body or mind; ill health, illness; a mental or physical disorder; a disease or ailment. Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia.
Dock Fever: Yellow fever.
Domestic Illness: Mental breakdown, depression.
Dropsy: Abnormal swelling of the body or part of the body due to the build-up of clear watery fluid. Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease.
Dropsy of the Brain: Encephalitis.
Dry Bellyache: Lead poisoning.
Dyscrasy: An abnormal body condition.
Dysentery: A term given to a number of disorders marked by inflammation of the large intestine and attended by frequent stools containing blood and mucus. Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood.
Dysorexy: Reduced appetite.
Dyspepsia: Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms.
Dysphasia: Difficulty in speech.
Dysury: Difficulty in or painful urination.
Eclampsia: Historically used as a general term for convulsions. Today identified with convulsions arising from toxæmia accompanying pregnancy.
Eclampsy: Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor.
Ecstasy: A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason.
Edema: Nephrosis; swelling of tissues.
Edema of lungs: Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy.
Eel Thing: Erysipelas.
Effluvia: Exhalations or emanations, applied especially to those of noxious character.
Elephantiasis: A form of leprosy. Swelling of a limb caused by lymphatic obstruction. Leads to thickening of the skin (pachyderma) often used as a synonym for filariasis but may result from syphilis or recurring streptococcal infection (elephantiasis nostra).
Emphysema: A chronic, irreversible disease of the lungs, characterised by shortness of breath, hacking cough, cyanosis and a "barrel-shaped" chest.
Encephalitis: Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness.
Enteric fever: Typhoid fever.
Enterocolitis: Inflammation of the intestines.
Enteritis: Inflations of the bowels.
Epilepsy: A disorder of the nervous system, characterised either by mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness.
Epitaxis: Nose bleed.
Epithelioma: Cancer of the skin.
Ergot: A fungal disease of edible grasses. When ingested, the fungus can infect humans, producing either convulsions or gangrene.
Erysipelas: An acute streptococcal infection of the skin characterised by a spreading, deep-red inflammation. Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions.
Extravasted blood: Rupture of a blood vessel.
Fainting Fits: Probably a euphemism for epilepsy.
Falling Sickness: Epilepsy.
Fatty Liver: Cirrhosis of liver.
Fistula: An unnatural communication between two different body structures.
Fits: Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity.
Flux: Dysentery. An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea.
Flux of humour: Circulation.
French Pox: Syphilis.
Galloping Consumption: Pulmonary tuberculosis.
Gangrene: Massive tissue death due to injury, disease, or failure of blood supply.
Gathering: A collection of pus.
General Paralysis of the Insane: Syphilis affecting the brain.
Glandular fever: Mononucleosis
Goitre Endocarditis: Inflammation of the endocardium and valves. The most common causes are rheumatic and septicæmia.
Gout: Painful inflammation caused by a build up of uric acid in the tissues.
Great Pox: Syphilis.
Green Fever: Sickness - Anemia.
Green Sickness: Anæmia.
Grip, Gripe or Grippe: Influenza like symptoms.
Grocer's Itch: Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour.
Hæmatemesis: Vomiting blood from the stomach. The blood is often stale and therefore contains coagulated particles resembling coffee grains.
Heart sickness: Condition caused by loss of salt from body.
Hectic fever: A daily recurring fever with profound sweating, chills, and flushed appearance, often associated with pulmonary tuberculosis or septic poisoning.
Hectical complaint: Recurrent fever.
Hematemesis: Vomiting blood.
Hematuria: Bloody urine.
Hemiplegy: Paralysis of one side of body.
Hip gout: Osteomylitis.
Hives: A skin eruption of wheals that result from an allergic reaction. Severe allergic reaction can cause death from anaphylactic shock.
Horrors: Delirium tremens.
Hospital fever: Typhus.
Hydrocephalus: Enlarged head, water on the brain.
Hydropericardium: Heart dropsy.
Hydropsy: The full name of dropsy.
Hydrothroax: Dropsy in chest.
Hypertrophic: Enlargement of organ, like the heart.
Ichor: Leakage of fluid from a sore or wound.
Impetigo: Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules.
Inanition: Physical condition resulting from lack of food.
Infantile Paralysis: Poliomyelitis (polio).
Intermittent Fever: Illness marked by episodes of fever with return to completely normal temperature; usually malaria.
Intestinal colic: Abdominal pain due to improper diet.
Jail fever: Typhus.
Jaundice: Condition caused by blockage of intestines.
Jawfaln: Literally a fallen jaw also referred to as a locked jaw. Possibly tetanus.
King’s evil: Scrofula. Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands.
Kink: Fit of coughing or choking.
Kruchhusten: Whooping cough.
Leprosy: A chronic bacterial disease affecting mainly skin and nerves. If untreated, there can be progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
Livergrown: Possibly Rickets. John Graunt (2) observed that Bills or Mortality showing many deaths from Rickets showed few or none Livergrown and vice versa.
Lockjaw: Tetanus, a disease in which the jaws become firmly locked together. Synonyms: trismus, tetanus.
Locomotor Ataxia: Disease of the nervous system which results in inability to walk.
Long Sickness: Tuberculosis.
Lues disease: Syphilis.
Lues venera: Venereal disease.
Lumbago: Back pain.
Lung Fever: Pneumonia.
Lung Sickness: Tuberculosis.
Lying in: Time of delivery of infant.
Malignant fever: Typhus.
Malignant Pustule: Anthrax.
Malignant Sore Throat: Diphtheria.
Marasmus: Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition.
Meagrom, Megrim: A severe headache, often limited to one side of the head.
Medulla: The marrow in the centre of a long bone. The soft internal portion of glands. Eg. Kidney, lymph nodes, thymus.
Melancholia: Severe depression.
Membranous Croup: Diphtheria.
Meningitis: Inflations of brain or spinal cord.
Mesentery: A large fold of peritoneum, passing between a portion of intestine and the posterior abdominal wall.
Metritis: Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge.
Miasma: Poisonous vapours thought to infect the air and cause disease.
Milk Fever: Short lived fever which sometimes accompanies lactation, probably a staphylococcus infection. Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis.
Milk Leg: Thrombosis of veins in the thigh usually seen after childbirth. Post partum thrombophlebitis.
Milk sickness: Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds.
Morbus Addisonii: Addison's Disease.
Morbus Cordis: Heart disease. A catch-all phrase for death by natural causes when the exact cause was not evident.
Morphew: Blisters resulting from scurvy. Scurvy blisters on the body.
Mortification: Gangrene, necrotic tissue.
Myelitis: Inflammation of the spine.
Myocarditis: Inflammation of heart muscles.
Necrosis: The death of tissue. Mortification of bones or tissue.
Nephrosis: Kidney degeneration.
Nepritis: Inflammation of kidneys.
Nervous prostration: Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities.
Neuralgia: Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head.
Œdema: Fluid retention, dropsy.
Oriental Boil: See Leishmaniasis.
Pachyderma: Thickening of the skin.
Palsy: Paralysis or difficulty with muscle control. Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles.
Paralysis Agitants: Parkinson's disease.
Pemphigus: Skin disease of watery blisters.
Pericarditis: Inflammation of heart.
Peripneumonia: Inflammation of lungs.
Peritonitis: Inflammation of abdominal area.
Pernicious Anæmia: Anæmia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.
Pertussis: Whooping cough.
Petechial Fever: Fever characterized by skin spotting.
Peurperal exhaustion: Death due to child birth.
Phlegmasia Alba Dolens: Thrombosis of veins in the thigh usually seen after childbirth.
Phthiriasis: Lice infestation.
Phthisis: Tuberculosis. Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis.
Pink Disease: Disease of teething infants due to mercury poisoning from teething powders.
Plague: Any infectious disease with a high mortality rate, although will often mean bubonic plague. An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate.
Planet-struck: Any sudden severe affliction or paralysis.
Pleurisie / Pleurisy: Inflammation of the pleura, the membranous sac lining the chest cavity. Symptoms are chills, fever, dry cough, and pain in the affected side. Any pain in the chest area with each breath.
Pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs with congestion or consolidation.
Porphyria: Rare metabolic disturbance that may cause mental damage in young children. It produces convulsions and delirium.
Poliomyelitis: PolioPotter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis.
Pott's disease: Tuberculosis of the spinal vertebræ.
Potter's Asthma: Tuberculosis.
Puerperal Exhaustion: Death due to childbirth.
Puerperal Fever: Infection after giving birth to an infant, probably a staphylococcus infection.
Puking Fever: Milk sickness.
Purples: This is a rash due to spontaneous bleeding in to the skin. It may be a symptom of some severe illnesses, including bacterial endocarditis and cerebrospinal meningitis.
Putrid fever: Typhus. Diphtheria.
Putrid sore throat: Ulceration of an acute form, attacking the tonsils.
Pyæmia: A condition in which collection of pyogenic bacteria circulate in the blood at intervals producing abscesses wherever they lodge.
Pyelitis: Inflammation of the pelvis of the kidney.
Quinsy: An acute inflammation of the tonsils, often leading to an abscess. Tonsillitis.
Rag-Picker's Disease: Anthrax.
Remitting Fever: Malaria.
Rheumatism: Any disorder associated with pain in joints.
Rickets: Disease of skeletal system mainly due to Vitamin D deficiency.
Rising Of The Lights: Generally considered to be croup. However, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as hysteria and John Graunt (2) suggests that it may be an inflammation of the liver, similar to livergrown (q.v.).
Rose cold: Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy.
Rotanny fever: Child's disease.
Rubeola: German measles.
Sanguineous crust: Scab.
Scarlatina: Scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever (Scarlet Rash): An infectious fever, characterised by a widespread scarlet eruption. A disease characterized by red rash.
Scarlet rash: Roseola.
Sciatica: Rheumatism in the hips.
Scirrhus: Cancerous tumors.
Scotomy: Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight.
Scouring or scowring: Purging of the bowels, probably diarrhœa or dysentery.
Scrivener's Palsy: Writer's cramp.
Scrofula or scrofula fugax: Primary tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, especially those in the neck. A disease of children and young adults, it represents a direct extension of tuberculosis into the skin from underlying lymph nodes. It evolves into cold abscesses, multiple skin ulcers, and draining sinus tracts. Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pustulas develop. Young person's disease. Possibly chicken pox.
Scrofula mesenterica: An internal non-pulmonary tuberculosis, resulting in a swollen abdomen, loss of appetite and a pale complexion.
Scrofula vulgaris: An itchy rash associated with hospitals. Most probably a streptococcal infection.
Scrumpox: Skin disease, impetigo.
Scurvy: A disease caused by severe vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin.
Septicemia: Blood poisoning.
Shakes: Delirium tremens.
Shaking: Chills, ague.
Shingles: Viral disease with skin blisters.
Ship fever: Typhus.
Siriasis: Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure.
Sloes: Milk sickness.
Small Pox: Highly infectious viral disease producing pustules. Contagious disease with fever and blisters.
Softening of the Brain: Stroke. Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area.
Sore Throat Distemper: Diphtheria or quinsy.
Spanish Disease: Syphilis.
Spanish Influenza: The variant of influenza that was responsible for the 1918 pandemic. Epidemic influenza.
Spasms: Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion.
Spina bifida: Deformity of spine.
Spotted fever: Meningitis or typhus. Either typhus or meningitis.
Sprue: Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat.
St Anthony's Fire: Skin disease caused by toxins from ergot infection. Sometimes used for erysipelas and other diseases producing a reddening of the skin. Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance.
St Vitus Dance: Chorea. Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary.
Stomatitis: Inflammation of the mouth.
Stranger's fever: Yellow fever.
Strangury: Painful urination. It may occur after labour, but is more often the result of disease in the bladder or urethra.
Sudor anglicus: Sweating sickness.
Summer complaint: Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk.
Sunstroke: Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause.
Surfet or surfeit: Vomiting from over eating or gluttony.
Swamp Sickness: Malaria, typhoid or encephalitis.
Sweating Sickness: Infectious and often fatal disease affecting England in the 15th century.
Sycosis Barbæ: Infection of the hair follicles of the beard area.
Tabes mesenterica: Tuberculosis of the mesenteric glands in children, resulting in digestive derangement and wasting of the body.
Teeth: Death of an infant when teething. Children appear to have been more susceptible to infection during this time, although malnutrition from being fed watered milk has also been suggested as a cause.
Teething: The entire process which results in the eruption of the teeth. Nineteenth-century medical reports stated that infants were more prone to disease at the time of teething. Symptoms were restlessness, fretfulness, convulsions, diarrhœa, and painful and swollen gums. The latter could be relieved by lancing over the protruding tooth. Often teething was reported as a cause of death in infants. Perhaps they became susceptible to infections, especially if lancing was performed without antisepsis. Another explanation of teething as a cause of death is that infants were often weaned at the time of teething; perhaps they then died from drinking contaminated milk, leading to an infection, or from malnutrition if watered-down milk was given.
Tetanus: An infectious, often-fatal disease characterised by respiratory paralysis and tonic spasms and rigidity of the voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck and lower jaw. The bacterium enters the body through wounds. Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness.
Thrombosis: Blood clot inside blood vessel.
Thrush: A disease characterised by whitish spots and ulcers on the membranes of the mouth, tongue, and throat caused by a parasitic fungus. Thrush usually affects sick, weak infants and elderly individuals in poor health.
Tinea Sycosis: Infection of the hair follicles of the beard area.
Toxemia of pregnancy: Eclampsia.
Typhoid: Typhoid fever is contracted when people eat food or drink water that has been infected. It is recognized by the sudden onset of sustained fever, severe headache, nausea and severe loss of appetite. It is sometimes accompanied by hoarse cough and constipation or diarrhœa.
Tympany: A swelling or tumour.
Typhus: An acute, infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness.
Trench mouth: Painful ulcers found along gum line, Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene.
Tussis convulsiva: Whooping cough.
Viper's dance: St. Vitus Dance.
Volvulus: Rotation of a section of intestine such as may result from the coiling of one loop of intestine with another. Circulation of the parts is seriously interfered with causing strangulation.
Water on brain: Enlarged head.
White swelling: Tuberculosis of the bone.
Winter fever: Pneumonia.
Wolf: A rapidly expanding growth, probably a malignant tumour.
Womb fever: Infection of the uterus.
Worm Fit: Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhœa.
Yellow fever: An acute, often-fatal, infectious febrile disease of warm climates—caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, especially Aledes ægypti, and characterised by liver damage and jaundice, fever, and protein in the urine. In 1900 Walter Reed and others in Panama found that mosquitoes transmit the disease. Clinicians in. the late nineteenth century recognised "specific yellow fever" as being different from "malarious yellow fever." The latter supposedly was a form of malaria with liver involvement but without urine involvement.
Yellowjacket: Yellow fever.