List of Archaic Medical Terms for Diseases and Ailments
(includes a few modern medical terms)

Select a tab below to open its list.

 

A

Ablepsy [blindness]
Ague [malarial fever]
American Plague [see Yellow Fever]
Anasarca [generalized massive edema]
Aphonia [laryngitis]
Aphtha [the infant disease thrush]
Apoplexy [paralysis due to stroke]
Asphycsia/Asphicsia [cyanotic and lack of oxygen]
Atrophy [wasting away or diminishing in size]

 

B

Bad Blood [syphilis]
Bilious Fever [typhoid, malaria, hepatitis, or elevated temperature and bile emesis]
Biliousness [jaundice associated with liver disease]
Black Plague or Black Death [bubonic plague]
Black Fever [acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate]
Black Pox [black small pox]
Black Vomit [vomiting old black blood due to ulcers; also see Yellow Fever]
Blackwater Fever [dark urine associated with high temperature]
Bladder in Throat [diphtheria]
Blood Poisoning [bacterial infection; septicemia]
Bloody Flux [bloody diarrhea; dysentery]
Bloody Sweat [see Sweating Sickness]
Bone Shave [sciatica]
Brain Fever [meningitis]
Breakbone [dengue fever]
Bright's Disease [chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys]
Bronze John [see Yellow Fever]
Bule [boil, tumor, or swelling]

 

C

Cachexy [malnutrition]
Cacogastric [upset stomach]
Cacospysy [irregular pulse]
Caduceus [falling sickness or epilepsy]
Camp Fever or Camp Diarrhea [typhus]
Canine Madness [rabies, hydrophobia]
Canker [ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex]
Catalepsy [seizures or trances]
Catarrhal [nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy]
Cerebritis [inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning]
Chilblain [swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold]
Child Bed Fever [infection following birth of a child]
Chin Cough [pertussis (whooping cough)]
Chlorosis [iron deficiency anemia]
Cholera [acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing]
Cholera Morbus [nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature - possibly appendicitis]
Cholecystitus [inflammation of the gall bladder]
Cholelithiasis [gall stones]
Chorea [disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing]
Cold Plague [ague characterized by chills]
Colic [abdominal pain and cramping]
Consumption [tuberculosis]
Congestion [any collection of fluid in an organ, such as the lungs]
Congestive Chills [malaria with diarrhea]
Congestive Fever [malaria]
Corruption [infection]
Coryza [a cold]
Costiveness [constipation]
Cramp Colic [appendicitis]
Crop Sickness [overextended stomach]
Croup [laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat]
Cyanosis [dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood]
Cynanche [diseases of throat]
Cystitis [inflammation of the bladder]

 

D

Day Fever [fever lasting one day]
Debility [lack of movement or staying in bed]
Decrepitude [feebleness due to old age]
Delirium Ttremens [hallucinations due to alcoholism]
Dengue [infectious fever endemic to East Africa]
Dentition [cutting of teeth]
Deplumation [tumor of the eyelids that causes hair loss]
Diptheria [contagious disease of the throat (nearly eradicated in U.S.A.)]
Distemper [usually an animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia]
Dock Fever [see Yellow Fever]
Dropsy [edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease]
Dropsy of the Brain [encephalitis]
Dry Bellyache [lead poisoning]
Dyscrasy [abnormal body condition]
Dysentery [inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood]
Dysorexy [reduced appetite]
Dyspepsia [indigestion and heartburn - also heart attack symptoms]
Dysury [difficulty with urination]

 

E

Eclampsy [symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor]
Ecstasy [form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason]
Edema [nephrosis; swelling of tissues]
Edema of Lungs [congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy]
Eel Thing [erysipelas]
Elephantiasis [form of leprosy]
Encephalitis [swelling of brain; sleeping sickness]
Enteric Fever [typhoid fever]
Enterocolitis [inflammation of the intestines]
Enteritis [inflammation of the bowels]
Epitaxis [nose bleed]
Erysipelas [contagious skin disease, due to streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions]
Extravasted Blood [rupture of a blood vessel]

 

F

Falling Sickness [epilepsy]
Fatty Liver [cirrhosis of liver]
Fits [sudden attack or seizure of muscle]
Flux [excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea]
Flux of Humour [referring to circulation]
French Pox [syphilis]

 

G

Gathering [collection of pus]
Glandular Fever [mononucleosis]
Great Pox [syphilis]
Green Fever or Green Sickness [anemia]
Grippe (also Gripe or Grip) [influenza-like symptoms]
Grocer's Itch [skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour]

 

H

Heart Sickness [condition caused by loss of salt from body]
Heat Stroke [elevated body temperature due to climate]
Hectical Complaint [recurrent fever]
Hematemesis [vomiting blood]
Hematuria [bloody urine]
Hemiplegy [paralysis of one side of body]
Hip Gout [osteomylitis]
Horrors [delirium tremens]
Hydrocephalus [enlarged head, also see Water on the Brain]
Hydropericardium [dropsy (swelling) of the heart]
Hydrophobia [rabies]
Hydrothroax [dropsy (swelling) in the chest]
Hypertrophic [enlargement of organ, such as the heart]

 

I

Impetigo [contagious skin disease characterized by pustules]
Inanition [physical condition resulting from lack of food]
Infantile Paralysis [polio]
Intestinal Colic [abdominal pain due to improper diet]

 

J

Jail Fever [typhus]
Jaundice [skin condition caused by blockage of the bile duct, viral hepatitis, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis, or malaria]

 

K

King's Evil [tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands]
Kruchhusten [pertussis (whooping cough)]

 

L

Lagrippe [influenza]
Lockjaw [tetanus]
Long Sickness [tuberculosis]
Lues Disease [syphilis]
Lues Venera [venereal disease]
Lumbago [back pain]
Lung Fever [pneumonia]
Lung Sickness [tuberculosis]
Lying In [preparing to give birth]

 

M

Malignant Sore Throat [diphtheria]
Mania [insanity]
Marasmus [progressive wasting away of body, such as malnutrition]
Membranous Croup [diphtheria]
Meningitis [inflammation of brain or spinal cord]
Metritis [inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge]
Miasma [poisonous vapors thought to infect the air]
Milk Fever [disease from drinking contaminated milk, such as undulant fever or brucellosis]
Milk Leg [post-partum thrombophlebitis]
Milk Sickness [disease from consuming milk from cattle that have eaten poisonous weeds]
Mormal [gangrene]
Morphew [scurvy blisters on the body]
Mortification [gangrene of necrotic tissue]
Myelitis [inflammation of the spine]
Myocarditis [inflammation of heart muscles]

 

N

Necrosis [mortification of bones or tissue]
Nephrosis [kidney degeneration]
Nephritis [inflammation of kidneys]
Nervous Prostration [extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities]
Neuralgia [discomfort, such as a headache would have been "neuralgia of the head"]
Nostalgia [homesickness]

 

P

Palsy [paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles]
Paroxysm [convulsion]
Pemphigus [skin disease of watery blisters]
Pericarditis [inflammation of heart]
Peripneumonia [inflammation of lungs]
Peritonotis [inflammation of abdominal area]
Petechial Fever [characterized by skin spotting]
Phthiriasis [lice infestation]
Phthisis [chronic wasting away or tuberculosis]
Plague [acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate]
Pleurisy [any pain in the chest area with each breath]
Podagra [gout]
Poliomyelitis [polio]
Pott's Disease [tuberculosis of spine]
Puerperal Exhaustion [death related to childbirth]
Puerperal Fever [elevated temperature after childbirth]
Puking Fever [see Milk Sickness]
Putrid Fever [diphtheria]

 

Q

Quinsy [tonsillitis]

 

R

Remitting Fever [malaria]
Rheumatism [any disorder associated with pain in joints]
Rickets [disease of skeletal system]
Rose Cold [hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy]
Rubeola [German measles]

 

S

Sanguineous Crust [scab]
Scarlatina [scarlet fever]
Scarlet Fever [disease characterized by a red rash]
Scarlet Rash [roseola]
Sciatica [rheumatism in the hips]
Scirrhus [cancerous tumors]
Scotomy [dizziness, nausea, and dimness of sight]
Scrivener's Palsy [writer's cramp]
Screws [rheumatism]
Scrofula [tuberculosis of neck lymph glands]
Scrumpox [skin disease, impetigo]
Scurvy [lack of vitamin C - symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin]
Septicemia [blood poisoning]
Shakes [delirium tremens]
Shaking [chills, ague]
Shingles [viral disease with skin blisters]
Ship Fever [typhus]
Siriasis [inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure]
Sloes [see Milk Sickness]
Smallpox [contagious disease with fever and blisters]
Softening of Brain [result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain]
Sore Throat Distemper [diphtheria or tonsillitis]
Spanish Influenza [epidemic influenza]
Spasms [sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles; convulsion]
Spina Bifida [deformity of spine]
Spotted Fever [typhus or meningitis]
Sprue [tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat]
St. Anthony's Fire [characterized by bright red patches of skin; see also Erysipelas]
St. Vitas Dance [ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntarily]
Stomatitis [inflammation of the mouth]
Stranger's Fever [see Yellow Fever]
Strangery [rupture]
Sudor Anglicus [see Sweating Sickness]
Summer Complaint [diarrhea, usually in infants and caused by spoiled milk]
Sunstroke [elevation of body temperature due to climate and lack of sodium]
Swamp Sickness [malaria, typhoid, or encephalitis]
Sweating Sickness [mysterius infectious and fatal disease common to England in the 15th century]

 

T

Tetanus [infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache, and dizziness]
Thrombosis [blood clot inside blood vessel]
Thrush [childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips, and throat]
Tick Fever [rocky mountain spotted fever]
Toxemia of Pregnancy [eclampsia]
Trench Mouth [painful ulcers found along gum line caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene]
Tussis Convulsiva [pertussis (whooping cough)]
Typhus [infectious disease characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness]

 

V

Variola [see Smallpox]
Venesection [bleeding]
Viper's Dance [see St. Vitus Dance]

 

W

Water on Brain [enlarged head; swelling]
White Swelling [tuberculosis of the bone]
Winter Fever [pneumonia]
Womb Fever [infection of the uterus]
Worm Fit [convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea]

Y

Yellow Fever [viral disease spread by mosquitos, characterized by high fever]
Yellowjacket [see Yellow Fever]