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Outdated Terminology

Depending on the time, different words had much different meanings. Below are a few outdated terms you may encounter, and their modern equivalent.

Some Brief Notes

Some of today's familiar words had different meanings during colonial times in the USA and earlier times in other parts of the world.
The change in meaning often happened in words referring to social relationships. As examples:

  1. "cousin" often meant niece or nephew
  2. "Mrs." could show high social status, not marital status
  3. "niece" and "nephew" spring from Latin words which meant "granddaughter" and "grandson," so you may find them used in that context.
  4. When we use the words "junior" and "senior," we normally think of a father and son relationship. However, in the past, these words were used more liberally and could refer to an uncle and nephew, or to two people with the same name who were unrelated.
  5. "brother" and "sister" also were used in different ways. Members of the same church often referred to each other as brothers and sisters, and a married couple would refer to their brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law just as brothers and sisters.
  6. "in-law" in the past could be either step relationships or the regular in-law relationship that we think of today.

General Outdated Terms

Outdated Term

aetas
agricola
avator
arcularius
avus
avia
caelebs
defunctus
maritus
marita
mortuus
piscator
relicta
spurius
testes
vidius

Current Term

age
farmer
farmer
carpenter
grandfather
grandmother
unmarried
dead
husband
wife
dead
fisherman
widow
bastard
witness
widower

Medical Outdated Terms

Outdated Term

apoplexy
bad blood
blood poisoning
Bright's disease
consumption
cretinism
dropsy
fatty liver
glandular fever
grippe
jail fever
lock jaw
lung fever
lung sickness
plague/black death
podagra
Pott's disease
quinsy
scrofula
toxemia of pregnancy

Current Term

stroke
syphillis
septicemia (bacterial infection)
glomerulonephritis (kidney disease)
tuberculosis, pulmonary
hypothyroidism, congenital
congestive heart failure
cirrhosis
mononucleosis
influenza (flu)
typhus
tetanus
pneumonia
tuberculosis
Bubonic plague
gout
tuberculosis of the spinal vertebrae
streptococcal tonsillitis
tuberculosis fo the neck lymph nodes
eclampsia (high blood pressure/seizures)

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