One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A condition in which a limb or other part of the body becomes grossly enlarged due to obstruction of the lymphatic vessels, typically by the nematode parasites which cause filariasis.
- ‘Manson correctly surmised that chyluria and elephantiasis were manifestations of lymphatic obstruction by adult filarial worms.’
- ‘However, there are differences in the epidemiology and pathophysiology of elephantiasis and hydrocele.’
- ‘During the Second World War, tens of thousands of Australian and American soldiers fighting in the Pacific Islands had terrible trouble with lymphatic filariasis, another parasitic infection, that causes elephantiasis.’
- ‘During the past four years, 80 million people have been successfully treated for elephantiasis, one of the world's most disfiguring diseases.’
- ‘The irony in the Pacific Islands is that, though still beset by traditional tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, and elephantiasis, the new great killer is the combination of obesity, diabetes, and vascular disease.’
Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek, from elephas, elephant- ‘elephant’ + -iasis.
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