One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tropical disease marked by tremors, muscular weakness, and paraplegia, especially prevalent in South Asia. It is commonly attributed to continued consumption of the seeds of the grass pea.
- ‘From time to time there is an outbreak of a paralysing disease, lathyrism, among people and animals that consume it.’
- ‘Acute lathyrism is not an appropriate model for periodontitis which has a chronic origin.’
- ‘Another similar disease, lathyrism, is due to toxicity from chickling peas.’
- ‘Known as lathyrism, the condition occurs mainly in Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India, where grasspea is a human and animal dietary staple.’
Late 19th century: from modern Latin Lathyrus (genus name of various leguminous plants) + -ism.
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