Some nouns used in medicine ironically contain the letter that is difficult for the sufferer to say, or difficult to deal with:

  • Lisp ('s')
  • Rhotacism ('r')
  • Blaesitas ('b')
  • Dyslexia (difficult to spell)
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (fear of long words is a long word)
  • Aibohphobia (fear of palindromes)
  • Lamdacism ('l')
  • Stammer/stutter (hard consonants easier to stumble over)

The closest I found was 'jocular terms', but this seems a bit too cruel. How did they come by these names? Is there a collective term that isn't so cruel?

I've looked at this ESE question and this reddit post hoping for an answer to this, but it didn't cover the collective term and more pointed out the cruel irony of it.

  • 1
    Maybe 'Irony'. :P
    – Mithical
    Jul 27 '16 at 9:34
  • I won't write it as an answer but: "overly illustrative/cruelly instructive medical terms" might be helpful to you. Or perhaps just "cold medical jargon"
    – user143977
    Jul 27 '16 at 9:48
  • Interesting question John. One thing of note is that hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the "fear of long words" and Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian means "of or pertaining to long words".
    – Gary
    Jul 27 '16 at 10:49
  • These are all examples of self-referential terms (though not intentionally so). And the self-reference is ironic in such cases.
    – Drew
    Jul 27 '16 at 14:48

There is no such term relating specifically to medical terminology. After all that would imply a level of sadism on the medical neologists which I am sure they lack!

However this idea, is a form of irony as mentioned, I would say it comes closest to: -

Verbal irony


Words [are used] to convey a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning.

ref: verbal irony

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