I've been reading some old encyclopedias (-ae?), and found 'chirurgy'. When did its usage become supplanted by the modern 'surgery'?

  • Can you give a reference??
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 21:22
  • 1
    And did you bother to look at the etymology of the word?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 21:23
  • It comes from the latin 'chirugiae'; I can't easily find context for its use, as google aliases it to 'surgery'.
    – Carrara
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 21:25
  • @Josh does that entry say when 'surgery' became preferred over 'chirurgy'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 22:04
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    There are other (more successful) examples of restoration of Greek "ch," such as "schism" and "schedule."
    – herisson
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


Chirurgy, ( more commonly chirurgery) given its Greek origin and academic usage was used in the past as an alternative to surgery, probably due to the Renaissance attempt to restore the Greek spelling of the related term chirurgeon:


  • noun, archaic for surgery.


Ngram shows usage maninly second half/late 18th century. Surgery appears to have always been more common than chirurgery/chirurgy.

1714, John Ayliffe, The Antient and Present State of the University of Oxford.

  • A Student in Chirurgery is admitted to practise throughout England, if he has been honestly and skilfully exercent therein for seven Years, and has gone through two Operations in Anatomy, and performed three Cures (at the least) […]


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