One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
treated as singular or plural A disease of children caused by vitamin D deficiency, characterized by imperfect calcification, softening, and distortion of the bones typically resulting in bow legs.
- ‘Its founder, Joseph Pilates, was born in Dusseldorf in 1880 and despite being a rather sickly child who suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever, he lived to the age of 87.’
- ‘To absorb calcium, the body needs adequate vitamin D. Lack of either can cause bone diseases such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in older people.’
- ‘Exclusively breastfed infants are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and rickets.’
- ‘Bowleggedness beyond the age of 2 or bowleggedness that only occurs in one leg but not the other can be the sign of a larger problem, such as rickets or Blount disease.’
- ‘Renal tubular defects result in a loss of calcium and phosphate in the urine leading to children with deficient mineralization of growing bone and rickets.’
Mid 17th century: perhaps an alteration of Greek rhakhitis (see rachitis).
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