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Yesterday, I asked a question over at the Gaming StackExchange, and eventually received an answer whose primary thrust was this wonderfully written passage from Moby Dick:

"Moby Dick" passage regarding hypos

My questions are: What does hypos mean in this context? What was the historical usage of this word — has it died out? How does its meaning here relate to what I presume is its Greek root ὑπό (hypo-)?

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"hypos" are a common abbreviation of hypoglycaemia, a common feeling for people suffering of diabetes. Symptoms: - Feeling wobbly or confused, - Having tingly lips and blurred eyesight. –  Alain Pannetier Φ Apr 29 '11 at 11:27

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

There are different meanings, plus hypo and hypo- are two different things. (If you want I'll be more specific here, but I avoided it because it wasn't what you asked.)

But the meaning you need is: "Morbid depression of spirits." (Taken from the OED.)

It's the only one that fits in that context, if you read again the passage, it will be much more understandable now.

EDIT: I forgot to mention. This meaning I gave to you is signalled as Obsolete and it says it's an "Abbreviation of hypochondria".

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I think hypos stands for "hypotheses" in this context.

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