One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Denoting a form of allergy in which a hypersensitivity reaction such as eczema or asthma may occur in a part of the body not in contact with the allergen.
- ‘Recent information has shown a substantial increase in the incidence of asthma and atopic disease.’
- ‘The patient had never smoked and had no history of atopic illness.’
- ‘Children with atopic eczema should not automatically be put on a special diet.’
- ‘The prevalence of asthma and atopic symptoms is higher in children in Hong Kong than those in mainland China.’
- ‘The risk of atopic diseases decreases with exposure to siblings, early day care, living on a farm, and pet keeping.’
- ‘Terminology is often confusing; the terms atopic eczema and atopic dermatitis are often used synonymously.’
Early 20th century: from Greek atopia ‘unusualness’, from atopos ‘unusual’, from a- ‘without’ + topos ‘place’.
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