You are watching: Where did the name chicken pox come from
The an initial documentation the the virus is attributed to the Italian, Giovanni Filippo (1510-1580) of Palermo. That course, then, that wasn’t referred to as Chicken Pox. The was named as the “Varicella Virus”. Chicken Pox is a strictly English language term for this virus. The French contact it Varicelle. The Spanish speak to the virus Varicela. Just the Germans speak to Chicken Pox by anything also remotely similar. They speak to them “Windpocken”.
So, back to the topic in ~ hand, why IS it called “Chicken Pox”? Well, over there are numerous theories, together there usually are to “street names” the things. In the 1600s the Englishman, Dr. Richard Morton, misdiagnosed the an illness as a milder form of tiny Pox. Tiny Pox, though now eradicated v vaccination, to be a fatal condition that killed approximately 300-500 million world during the 20th century alone, and also wasn’t any kind of less deadly in Dr. Morton’s time. Since both viruses manifest themselves in the type of lesions top top the skin and also fever, the was straightforward to watch why everyone would affix the two to one another.
In fact, the great 18th century medical professional Samuel Johnson self is attributed in one of the most renowned theories regarding the origin of the name Chicken Pox. This concept goes the he believed since it to be a milder type of little Pox, it no as strong or as vicious. Therefore, it to be “chicken.” If you’re curious, chicken, definition “coward,” very first popped up approximately the 14th century.
However, provided that the first documented instance of “Chicken Pox” originates from the 1727 Chambers Encyclopedia– once Dr. Johnson would have actually been simply 18 years old- if the “chicken/coward” theory is correct, we’re an ext than a small skeptical the the surname was believed up through him. The particular reference in the Chambers Encyclopedia states:
Chicken Pox, a cutaneous disease, frequent in children, within the skin is extended with pustules choose those the the tiny pox.
In 1767, Dr. Wilhelm Heberden, additionally hailing native England, made the exploration that Chicken Pox and tiny Pox are in fact, not from the exact same virus as previously thought.
This every brings us to theory number two. The center English language (12th-15th centuries) had the native “Yicche” or “Icchen” meaning, “to itch.” The Old English word because that “to itch” is “Giccan.” So the seems feasible that “Chicken Pox” may simply be a bastardized version of “Giccan/Yicche/Icchen/Itching” + “Pox.”
Beyond those, people have voiced theory that usually aren’t offered as much credence, such as that the red clues look prefer a chicken pecked the victim. One more idea is that they were called for your similarity in appearance to “chick peas” (a.k.a. “Garbanzo Beans” or “Ceci Beans”).
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Now stop look at the other word- “Pox.” Pox, which first popped up roughly the so late 15th century, is simply an alternate way to assignment the many of “pockes” (from “pocke”), which at some point derives from the Old English “pocc,” an interpretation “pustule, blister, ulcer.”
So depending upon which the the two main theories you want to believe, Chicken Pox would then one of two people literally be “cowardly/lesser blisters” (as in a lesser form of small Pox- i beg your pardon if you walk look at some images of those affected, Chicken Pox is definitely lesser). Alternatively, it can simply be a bastardized method of saying “Icchen (as in itchy) Blisters,” which because that those of us who’ve had actually it, we deserve to all agree Chicken Pox is that. Therefore take her pick. There just isn’t enough documented evidence for us to recognize for sure on this one.
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