On Polysemy of Medical Terms of Late 19th – Early 20th Century

  • Palmira Zemlevičiūtė
Keywords: polysemy, homonymy, polysemous term, medical term, terminology

Abstract

    The article discusses the polysemous medical terms used by Lithuanian doctors in the texts on medical and healthcare topics written in popular scientific style at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Such terms are not numerous in the medical terminology of the period in question. Different meanings of such terms reveal in the context or when comparing the same terms used in different contexts. Most of the terms with different medical (both primary and secondary) meanings were taken by doctors from general language by transforming its words into terms. The so called author’s polysemy includes such cases when a doctor(s) attribute(s) different medical meanings to the term in his/her/their text(s). Terms are usually used in two different medical meanings.
    In addition to the discussion on the polysemous terms dating back to the initial stage of the formation of medical terminology, the article also reviews theoretical insights on the topic of polysemy.

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