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When watching medical television shows, I often hear the doctors (actors) using the term "stat", which I understand to mean "do [action] quickly/immediately". Where did this term originate, and where is it derived from?

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5 Answers 5

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According to the OED, stat in this sense originated in pharmacology. The word stat would be written on a prescription to mean "immediately". The OED gives two citations for this:

  • 1875 — W. H. Griffiths Lessons on Prescriptions iv. 18: "Stat., immediately."
  • 1971 — Lancet 25 Sept. 700/2: "Stat., to be given at once."

The word stat is an abbreviation of the Latin word statim, which has the meaning "instantly/immediately".

This usage was then generalized beyond the domain of prescriptions to refer to any action that needed to be taken immediately.

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I work in medical and the term stat means immediately. we use that in emergency cases or when we need results or an action to be taken immediately. Latin statim translate to immediately. Since we use medical terminology Latin is used because it's a universal language.

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stat in latin means Staute, body etc. In Albanian is the same or the original Shtat=Stat (latin). "Shati im" in Albanian (Illyrian) means my body

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Where's your evidence this is what doctor's mean? It doesn't seem to make sense in context. – curiousdannii Jun 21 at 1:49
On its face, the Albanian shtat does not seem to be related to the Latin stat, which is closer to condition, position, state, manner, attitude from the PIE sta- meaning to stand. – ScotM Jun 21 at 2:35
@ScotM: Wiktionary says they are cognate: – sumelic Oct 30 at 5:24

I read on source claim it is an acronym.for "Sooner Than Already There". Ok, that works too. Latin term "Statim".

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Welcome to the site! For answers like this you are encouraged to link to references – New Alexandria Sep 17 '13 at 16:09

Stat stands for Short Turn Around Time. Not sure where it started from, but this is what I have been told it means.

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This is a folk etymology. Be particularly wary of etymologies involving acronyms, as they are often anachronistic. – Kosmonaut May 17 '11 at 21:32
That sounds like a backronym – thursdaysgeek May 17 '11 at 21:42

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