February 15, 2017

Here are Merriam-Webster's newest health care words

Daily Briefing
    Merriam-Webster recently added more than 1,000 new words to its dictionary, including several health care-related terms, Heather Punke reports for Becker's Hospital Review.

    Merriam-Webster said it selected the new words because they've "demonstrated frequent and increasing use in a variety of sources, and are therefore likely to be encountered by a reader—and should be in the dictionary."

    Here's the new batch of dictionary-authenticated health care words, along with their Merriam-Webster definitions:  

    • CRISPR: "A segment of genetic material found in the genomes of prokaryotes (such as some bacteria and archaea) that consists of repeated short sequences of nucleotides interspersed at regular intervals between unique sequences of nucleotides derived from the DNA of pathogens (such as viruses) which had previously infected the bacteria and that functions to protect the bacteria against future infection by the same pathogens. The CRISPR segment encodes, via transcription, short RNA sequences that pair with complementary sequences of viral DNA. The pairing is used to guide an enzyme to cleave the viral DNA and prevent further infection."
    • EpiPen: "Used for a preparation of epinephrine administered by auto-injector."

    • Microbiome: "A community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body."

    • Prosopagnosia: "A form of visual agnosia characterized by an inability to recognize faces."

    • Supercentenarian: "A person who is 110 years old or older."

    • Urgent care: "Medical care provided for illnesses or injuries which require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an [ED]."

    (Punke, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/8; Merriam-Webster press release, February 2017).

    Need to brush up on more health care terms?

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