Word of the Week

Word of the Week (249): LOIASIS (*new CSW15*) (probability 11968), by David Sutton

Most diseases have far too many letters in their names to be of interest to Scrabble players, so we need spend no time on many of the new ones that have come in with CSW15, such as DRACUNCULIASIS, or infestation with guinea worm, and HYPERURICAEMIA, an elevated level of uric acid in the blood. I suppose some might cast wistful looks at the intriguing HUMDURGEON, a word for an imaginary illness, and MORGELLONS, a condition in which the sufferer experiences crawling, biting, and stinging sensations on the skin, and with MONKEYPOX, a rare viral disease of central and western Africa, we are approaching the just about playable.

But realistically the only new disease worth catching from the Scrabble point of view is LOIASIS, a tropical African disease of the skin and eyes, caused by a nematode worm (those little blighters get everywhere) and contracted from the bite of a bloodsucking insect known as the deerfly. The plural is LOIASES or LOIASISES.

There are, however, a few new variants and plural forms worth noting. LEUKOSIS and LEUKOTIC gain variants LEUCOSIS (plural LEUCOSES) and LEUCOTIC. MELENA, a condition marked by black tarry stool, gains a variant MELAENA. MIOSIS and MYOSIS, excessive contraction of the pupil of the eye, gain new plurals MIOSISES and MYOSISES in addition to the existing MIOSES and MYOSES. MYELITIS, inflammation of the spinal marrow, adds a new plural MYELITES, as if the existing MYELITISES or MYELITIDES were not enough already. PEMPHIGUS, a rare skin disease, adds PEMPHIGI to the existing PEMPHIGUSES. And if you have a pimple or PAPULA, you can now speak of PAPULAS as well as PAPULAE.

Finally, if you have YAWS and are consequently YAWY or YAWEY, you can now be YAWIER than the next person, or even YAWIEST of all. Which may not be much of a comfort.


© WESPA | Committees | Join WESPA | Contact Us | Credits