One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A toxin-producing bacterium which can infect the bowel, causing illness with diarrhoea and fever, especially in people who have been treated with antibiotics.
Clostridium difficile, a Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium (see clostridium)
Although the word difficile has four syllables in the original Latin, three-syllable pronunciations are more typically used in English by medical professionals and others
1960s: abbreviation of the Latin binomial Clostridium difficile, from clostridium + Latin difficile neuter singular of difficilis ‘difficult’.
Frequently italicized. The Gram-positive, anaerobic, toxin-producing bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is a frequent cause of antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis and hospital-acquired diarrhoeal illness.
1960s; earliest use found in Journal of Bacteriology. Shortened from scientific Latin Clostridium difficile, name of a species of bacterium from Clostridium + classical Latin difficile, neuter singular of difficilis, although the usual pronunciation apparently reflects an apprehension that the name shows French difficile.
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