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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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3 Answers 3

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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 read on source claim it is an acronym.for "Sooner Than Already There". Ok, that works too. I.like.the 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
2  
That sounds like a backronym –  thursdaysgeek May 17 '11 at 21:42

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