One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive wasting disease.
thinness, boniness, scrawniness, skinniness, scragginessView synonyms
- ‘In fact he had died there from phthisis on 9 December 1886: the death certificate describes him as a ‘musician’.’
- ‘He learned to recognize pneumonia, bronchiectasis, pleurisy, emphysema, pneumothorax, phthisis, and other lung diseases from the sounds he heard with his stethoscope.’
- ‘Tuberculosis, first known as phthisis or consumption, has been recognized as a leading cause of American deaths for as long as records have been kept.’
- ‘Death rates from silicosis, miners' phthisis, and tubercular diseases were very high on the Rand.’
- ‘Several other events have acted to reignite the old problem known as phthisis, consumption, or the white plague (named for the pallor it causes).’
Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek, from phthinein ‘to decay’.
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