One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rare hereditary disease in which there is abnormal metabolism of the blood pigment haemoglobin. Porphyrins are excreted in the urine, which becomes dark; other symptoms include mental disturbances and extreme sensitivity of the skin to light.
- ‘Other metabolic neuropathies include symptomatic thyroid disease, porphyria, and renal or hepatic failure.’
- ‘Hemophilia is a much simpler disease to explain than porphyria.’
- ‘Clinically identical acute attacks can occur in acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria, and plumboporphyria.’
- ‘The actual article, of course, has much more to it: the cause of his madness has been diagnosed as vitamin deficiency, anaemia, hyperthyroidism and a metabolic disease called porphyria.’
- ‘She was a young woman with acute porphyria and severe peripheral neuropathy.’
- ‘He was almost certainly suffering from a hereditary blood disorder called porphyria that flowed through the veins of many of Europe's royal houses.’
1920s: modern Latin, from porphyrin.
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