One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Blood poisoning (septicaemia) caused by the spread in the bloodstream of pus-forming bacteria released from an abscess.
- ‘Nothing seemed to halt pyemia, and it had a mortality rate of over 90%.’
- ‘There may be rapid and irritable pulse, dry brown tongue, dry skin, constipation, anorexia, and if pyemia develops there will be pain in the joints.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek puon ‘pus’ + haima ‘blood’.
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