Sunday, April 29, 2018

Infectious diseases, Part 7: Lymphogranuloma venereum infection

[This entry comes from a section of Chapter 34 ("Words about infectious diseases") of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]



Lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV for short, is ‘a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium (Chlamydia trachomatis) and characterized initially by a genital lesion followed by enlargement of the lymph nodes in the groin area’ (AHD). This is a New Latin term derived from the compound formed by lymph‑ (linking vowel ‑o‑) plus granuloma and the Latin adjective venereum, neuter of venereus. Other non-technical terms for this infection in English are Climatic bubo, Durand–Nicolas–Favre disease, Poradenitis inguinale, and Strumous bubo. The Spanish cognate technical name is linfogranuloma venéreo or, more simply, granuloma venéreo. These are the sources of all this morphemes:

·   lymph‑/limf‑: from Lat. lympha ‘water, esp. pure/spring water, a goddess of water’, a variant of lumpæ ‘waters’; the spelling was made to appear Greek by the pseudo-association with due to pseudo-etym. association with Gr. νύµϕη (nymphe) ‘nymph; goddess of a spring’; this word started to be used in botany to refer to ‘A colorless fluid in plants; the sap’ (17th century) and in physiology and medicine to refer to ‘a colorless alkaline fluid, derived from various tissues and organs of the body, resembling blood but containing no red corpuscles’ (18th century) (OED).

·   granul‑: the stem of Lat. grānŭlum ‘small grain, granule’ is a late Latin diminutive of grānum ‘seed, grain, small kernel’ (grān‑um + ‑ŭl‑ > grān‑ŭl‑um); cf. Eng. granule (mid-17th century loan from Latin, probably through Fr. granule) and Sp. gránulo (first in the DRAE in 1884). Lat. granum is the source of patrimonial Sp. grano and of Eng. grain [ˈɡɹeɪ̯n] (early 13th century loan from Old Fr. grain).

·   o‑ma: Greek suffix forming neuter nouns (typically nouns indicating the result of a verbal action, equivalent to Lat. ‑men; used in medical terminology with the meaning ‘morbid growth, tumor’, cf. sarcoma, carcinoma. The ‑o‑ is the classic Greek linking vowel.

·   vĕnĕrĕum: neuter form of Late Lat. vĕnĕrĕus ‘of sexual love’ (classical: vĕnĕrĭus), source of obsolete Eng. venereous (< venereus + ‑ous; early 16th century; replaced with the mid-16th century creation venereal), and of Sp. venéreo/a, as in Eng. venereal disease and Sp. enfermedad venérea; Lat. venereus is derived from the name Venus ‘goddess of love’ (gen. Veneris, regular stem: Vener‑), often used to refer to sexually-transmitted diseases.

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