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?

4 Answers 4


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.


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.


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

  • 9
    This is a folk etymology. Be particularly wary of etymologies involving acronyms, as they are often anachronistic.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 21:32
  • 5
    That sounds like a backronym Commented May 17, 2011 at 21:42

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

  • 3
    Welcome to the site! For answers like this you are encouraged to link to references Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:09

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