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Dyslexic (n.) is first recorded 1961; dyslectic (adj.) from 1964.

My point is this - the Latin "legere" was already sufficient, "lexis" was contrived (I jest) out of the 'confusion' (see image) of "legere" and "legein". Unnecessarily I would suggest.

The word could have easily been "disleger", without any confusion of readability or spelling whatsoever.

Although some negative connotative association surrounding leg removal may have arisen.

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    I know what Slartibartfast was made hard to spell as a sadistic act. Jan 30, 2014 at 3:55
  • I think the question is misleading. I would use misnomer.
    – Double U
    Jan 30, 2014 at 4:54
  • 1
    The word was not designed for use by the dyslexics but for them. The Q is ill-conceived. All those who suffer from tongue-twisters of new-age ailments are not scholars of the high ..., ah well, enough said.
    – Kris
    Jan 30, 2014 at 6:01
  • This question is based on an incorrect premise.
    – Kris
    Jan 30, 2014 at 6:03
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    Kris: "The word was not designed for use by the dyslexics but for them." - sounds like you confuse sadism with masochism - I certainly didn't say dyslexics did this to themselves, but LOL, the irony... you think it was designed FOR them? Priceless! :-D I am sure you have 17,878 reasons not to see the irony or humour... here's to 18,000 fixing that for you. You certainly made me chuckle. Jan 30, 2014 at 6:45

1 Answer 1


I think that, while somewhat ironic, the word follows normal pathways of development. Since dyslexia is difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, it follows that terms already in existence for words would be used.

Before dyslexia was lexicon:

c.1600, "a dictionary," from Middle French lexicon or directly from Modern Latin lexicon, from Greek lexikon (biblion) "word (book)," from neuter of lexikos "pertaining to words," from lexis "word," from legein "say".

Used originally of dictionaries of Greek, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic, because these typically were in Latin and in Modern Latin lexicon, not dictionarius, was the preferred word.

From lexikos (pertaining to words), we add dys- (prefix meaning bad, ill, abnormal) and get dyslexia.

Internationally, dyslexia has no single definition; more than 70 names are used to describe its manifestations, characterizations or causes. It would be interesting to find these names, but I could not.

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    Concur with Susan's source. Lexikos has its origin in lexis, and I'm not sure about the graphic in the OP's post which claims that lexis is a confusion of L. legere and AGr. legein. The AGr. noun λέξις appears in Plato's Republic and even earlier. So I would lean toward's The etymology Susan has identified.
    – jbeldock
    Jan 30, 2014 at 6:52
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    It's a formidable response Susan, even without the 70 variations. :) Jan 30, 2014 at 7:09
  • @jbeldock, i guess that's Google for you (i.e. the image). Thanks for your contribution :) Jan 30, 2014 at 7:11

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