I visited my doctor for discharge summary and asked her if she could pinpoint the cause of the cancer. when she started to speak, she was lost in search of a word that would fit in the blank in the following sentence: your cancer might be because of this virus but nobody yet has put a _____ on it.

she was lost and so was I. usually when we buy a product, there is a seal on it that suggests authenticity. I am looking for a word that could mean a seal or mark that proves something is authentic. In this case, it would confirm that the cause of the disease is X.

Is there a word that would suitably fill in the blank spot?

  • 2
    verification? Proof? label? Name? I'm at a loss for words. Jun 17, 2014 at 9:20
  • how about 'acknowledge' ?
    – vyi
    Jun 17, 2014 at 10:27
  • What exactly is the ‘it’ you’re referring to? The virus? The cancer? What is it that nobody has ‘put a seal of approval on’? I understand the general situation you’re describing, but the actual sentence itself makes no sense to me—I can’t see what it is your doctor is saying has not been ‘seal-of-approvaled’ yet. Jun 17, 2014 at 11:30
  • the doctor is talking about the thing that might have caused the cancer. she talking about the validity of the cause and that nobody yet has given evidence proving something to be the cause of the cancer.
    – vickyace
    Jun 17, 2014 at 12:10
  • Not exactly doctorspeak, but 'nobody has yet put a clincher on it' gets the point across, imo. Jun 17, 2014 at 14:57

12 Answers 12


I think you may say:

nobody yet has put a final word on it.

suggesting that developments are still underway and a lot of research has probably to be done before a final answer is found.

  • There is never a "final word" on medical matters. Almost anything that has been believed and accepted at one time has been later overthrown or disproved. That's the nature of science, in general.
    – Phil Perry
    Jun 17, 2014 at 16:11
  • @Phil Perry - and that is just what I am saying!! Why are you thinking I am saying the opposite?
    – user66974
    Jun 17, 2014 at 19:43
  • I'm merely noting that anyone claiming that a discovery is "the final word" is ignorant. There's never such a thing, so it's a bad term to use in medicine (or science in general). Read my comment more carefully.
    – Phil Perry
    Jun 17, 2014 at 20:06
  • 1
    I'm just saying that ''nobody has put a final word on it'' just to stress the fact that 'a final word' cannot be put on such a matter!! And I am using that expression for that purpose!! We are just saying the same thing!!!
    – user66974
    Jun 17, 2014 at 20:11
  • 1
    No problem, it is always helpful to clear possible misunderstandings. Anyway I suggest you avoid using words like 'ignorant' that may result rude or offensive. Concepts can be expressed effectively without the use of such words.
    – user66974
    Jun 17, 2014 at 20:26

The exact word you want is: Imprimatur

Wikipedia has the definition:

An imprimatur (from Latin, "let it be printed") is, in the proper sense, a declaration authorizing publication of a book. The term is also applied loosely to any mark of approval or endorsement.

  • This is accurate as far as an English word with that meaning, but it does not fit into the example sentence. However, I think the fault is more with the sentence.
    – Dmitri
    Jun 17, 2014 at 18:10

It is unlikely for a complex science like medicine to give absolute truths as answers. I would go with something like "there is no conclusive research".

  • +1 for the answer. I chose the one because it fits my description.
    – vickyace
    Jun 18, 2014 at 2:45

Your cancer might be because of this virus, but nobody has proven it yet.

'Seal of Approval' wording might be a legacy from a second language. I've never heard or read of it or anything like that's use in that sort of sense, especially medical.



...because of this virus but nobody yet has attested it


How about this?

...your cancer might be because of this virus, but nobody yet has put a rubber-stamp on it.

  • 1
    No. To rubber stamp something is to routinely approve without thinking much about it.
    – Phil Perry
    Jun 17, 2014 at 16:12

I would say - "Your cancer might be because of this virus but no study has yet corroborated it."


The word is finger, and the idiom, to put a finger on.

arabianMoney, June 01, 2014

Options traders reverse their bets but can’t put a finger on where markets are going

That is, to pin point something, affirmatively.


Kent Babb on WashingtonPost, Sept. 15, 2013

Robert Griffin III isn’t himself, and Redskins’ quarterback can’t put a finger on why

That is, he didn't know what exactly the reason could be.

  • put (one's) finger on: To identify "I can't put my finger on the person in that photograph." (thefreedictionary.com/put+%28one%27s%29+finger+on)
    – Kris
    Jun 17, 2014 at 10:48
  • The question is not about identification to any degree of specificity. It's about validation. Jun 17, 2014 at 14:56
  • @TylerJamesYoung See the context. It's very much about "identification of specificity" -- a good phrase by the way.
    – Kris
    Jun 17, 2014 at 14:58

...your cancer might be because of this virus but nobody yet has put a _ on it ratified the diagnosis.


1. the act of ratifying; confirmation; sanction. 2. the state of being ratified.


...your cancer might be because of this virus but nobody yet has put a _ on it obsignated the diagnosis.

Obsign [See {Obsignate}.] To seal; to confirm, as by a seal or stamp. [Obs.] --Bradford. [1913 Webster]

  • 4
    A word marked already in 1913 as obsolete is probably not the best candidate for a word to be used in normal conversation. Jun 17, 2014 at 11:28
  • 1
    “nobody has sanctioned the diagnosis yet.” might work, too. Jun 17, 2014 at 17:42
  • "...nobody has yet ratified/obsignated..."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 18, 2014 at 3:57

certification (ˌsɜr tə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən, sərˌtɪf ə-)

1. the act of certifying.
2. the state of being certified.
3. a certified statement. 

"your cancer might be because of this virus, but nobody has yet confirmed [or proven] it."

The precise wording could also depend on whether all cancers of this type are believed to be caused by this particular virus (e.g., HPV causing cervical cancer, among others), or whether your doctor thinks that your cancer was caused by this virus, but usually it's some other cause (or a different virus). That's possible, too.

Keep in mind that an absolute term like "confirmed" or "proven" is not really an absolute in science (including medicine). It's the best we have at the moment, and is subject to change.


“your cancer might be because of this virus, but there’s only anecdotal evidence to support it; nobody has yet tested it clinically [or confirmed it through clinical testing].”

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