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English Glossary of Causes of Death and other Archaic Medical Terms


The name given by the Africans to the disease called Frambúsia. On the American coast it is termed pian and epian. [Hoblyn1855]

A disease, occurring in the Antilles and in Africa, characterized by yellowish or reddish tumors, of a contagious character, which, in shape and appearance, often resemble currants, strawberries, or raspberries. There are several varieties of this disease, variously known as framboesia, pian, verrugas, and crab-yaws. [CancerWEB]

The term "yaws" is thought to be of Caribbean origin. In the language of the Carib Indian people, "yaya" was the word for "a sore." The disease yaws may have come from Africa where the word "yaw" may have meant "a berry." Because the bumps of yaws look like berries, the disease is also called frambesia (or frambesia tropica) from the French "framboise," meaning "raspberry." Other names for yaws include granuloma tropicum polypapilloma tropicum, and thymiosis. [Medicinenet]

1679, from Carib yaya, the native name for the disease. [Online Etymology Dictionary]

Yava Skin

The name given, in Polynesian Isles, to Elephantiasis Arabum, or Barbadoes leg, from its being supposed to originate from drinking the heating beverage called yava. [Hoblyn1855]



Yellow Fever

One of the severest forms of malignant fever; so named from the lemon or orange hue presented by the whole surface of the body, and attended with vomiting of a yellowish matter at the beginning, and of a chocolate couloured colluvies towards its close. [Hoblyn1855]

A very acute and dangerous febrile affection; so called, because complicated, in its second stage, with a jaundiced appearance, accompanied by vomiting of black matter. [Dunglison1874].

A remittent fever, with yellow skin from disorder of the hepatic system. [Thomas1875]

An acute, specific, very fatal febrile disease, spread by place infection, and occurring epidemically or as an endemic within a peculiarly limited geographical area. It is characterized by a definite course consisting of an initial stage of asthenic nature, rapidly followed by an adynamic condition in which such evidences of blood destruction as black vomit, albuminuria, and hematogenous jaundice are liable to occur. [Manson1898]

An infectious tropical disease caused by an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes of the genera Aedes, especially A. aegypti, and Haemagogus and characterized by high fever, jaundice, and vomit that is dark in color as a result of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging. Also called yellow jack. [Heritage].

Information sheet from NYS Dept of Health
Fact sheet from WHO

Yellow Gown

Icterus Infantum

Yellow Gum

Icterus Infantum, or Jaundice of Infants. This is the mildest form under which jaundice makes its appearance. [Hoblyn1855]

Yellow Jack

A term for the yellow fever, which probably originated among seamen; a yellow flag (a flag being called a jack) being generally displayed at naval hospitals, or from vessels at quarantine, to denote the existence of contagious disease. [Bartlett1877]

Yellow Fever. It was a common cause for quarantining ships and became known as yellow jack because quarantined ships flew a yellow flag. [Cartwright]



Yemen Ulcer