What does the part "my cold came out of remission" mean in the following sentence?

It seems that my cold came out of remission… I'll work from home today and hopefully kick it before Monday.


Remission is, according to wikipedia, a medical term for

the state of absence of disease activity in patients known to have incurable chronic illness.

So the sentence would mean something like:

I thought my cold was gone, but it reappeared [it came out of the state of remission, the absence of activity].

Usually the term remission is used for more serious diseases, with a chronic aspect, like cancer.

  • +1. It's curious; I don't precisely know why but its strikes me as somewhat perverse to use 'remission' when referring to colds. I'll leave it to others to argue whether is is technically correct, but I think that it's best reserved for more serious conditions. – CJM Dec 8 '10 at 11:32
  • 3
    This use of "remission" is a form of hyperbole. – Marthaª Dec 8 '10 at 14:37

It's another way of saying

I have a cold.

If an illness goes into "remission", the illness is abating, i.e. lessening (def. 3). Thus, something coming out of "remission" is growing stronger.

From a medical standpoint, I don't believe (although I am not a physician) this is medically correct–unlike cancer, a cold is not something that once contracted, persists (whether with or without noticeable symptoms) in the host, assuming no medical intervention takes place, but it's still a nice way of saying it.

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