Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Daily Hump: Pimple

We all get them--some people more often than others. The lowly, ubiquitous pimple. It's sort of like nature's oil well, only it just happens to be on your skin. We know the word existed in English as far back as around 1400 CE. It's assumed that there is some relationship between pimple and the Old English pipligende which is the state of having...wait for it...herpes. It's possible that pipligende, in turn, is related to the Latin papula, which gives us our modern word papule meaning "A small, solid, usually inflammatory elevation of the skin that does not contain pus." However, as the OED explains, this is difficult to connect phonologically.

And in case you're curious the origin of zit, which was first recorded in use around 1966, is completly unknown.

pimple [AHD]
papule [AHD]
pimple [OED]
zit [Online Etymology Dictionary]

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:: posted by David, 8:52 AM


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