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Say It Loud! Common Mispronounced or Misspelled Medical Terms and How To Say Them

In medicine there are may words that are said by patients that I don’t correct for fear of embarrassment. Here's a short list for your entertainment.

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So many of us cringe a little when we hear the word “conversate”. If you are confused right now, you may be a person who finds yourself “conversating” from time to time. A reasonable mistake when the word seems to stem from “conversation”. I learned many years ago, however, that the actual Merriam-Webster word is “to converse”. To be used in a sentence: “I would like to converse with you about that later,” or “he and I conversed about that the other day.” It is both a shoe and a verb (except that the accent is on the VERSE, rather than the CON).
askeuozqhyu-jason-rosewellIn medicine, there are many words that are said by patients that I don’t have the heart to correct for fear of embarrassment. However, they are, well, not correct. In the interest of no longer leaving my ladies with proverbial spinach in their teeth, here are a few:
  • Blood clog- The word is blood clot, with a T. It can refer to a dollop of blood, often seen during one’s period. A blood clot can also form within a person’s vein and lead to breathing difficulty or leg problems. People often need blood thinners after being diagnosed with an internal blood clot. Furthermore, there are factors that can increase a person’s risk of having blood clots in their veins if their family members had them.
  • Vomic- The word is vomit, also with a T. No further explanation needed.
  • From the pediatric division: Chicken Pops, Wingworm and Ammonia are actually Chicken Pox (pronounced pocks), Ringworm, and Pneumonia (pronounced New-mo-neea).
  • Mammeogram- The word is mammogram. There is no E. Just mam-O.
  • Colostomy- I think this one is meant to be Colonoscopy, the test to screen for colon cancer where a camera is used to look inside the bowel and remove polyps before they become cancer. Let’s break this one down: Colon-Osco-Pee. Osco like the drug store.
  • Sugar Diabetus- Drop the sugar, literally, and just say Diabetes, pronounced Die-uh-beet-ease. Or you can just say “I got the Shugah” and I’ll smile because of the nostalgia. It’s as endearing as “The Gout” that my older family members complained of.
  • Tubalization- The procedure is tubal ligation- pronounced tubal lie-gay-shun.
Fitting that I end this post with a gynecologic term, considering “fireballs in the eucharist” is one of the original malapropisms for fibroids in the uterus. A malapropism is a fancy word that I just learned for the humorous misuse of a word. Knowing the correct word and definition can be important to your health. For example, if your mom had a blood clot in her leg in the past, you may need testing to rule out elevated risk before starting certain types of birth control. This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Don’t worry though, we will be continuing this conversate-shun.

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Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at

5 comments on “Say It Loud! Common Mispronounced or Misspelled Medical Terms and How To Say Them

  1. This is fabulous! I cannot stop smiling. What a delivery you have!!! 🙂

  2. Shimul Sahai

    My favorites are “prostrate” and “rotator cup.” Fun post!

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