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Re: Chicken pox = chick peas

Posted by ESC on April 30, 2004

In Reply to: Chicken Pox posted by Karen Brown on April 30, 2004

: I am trying to how this name came about but am having no luck. Any ideas?

I couldn't find it in a slang reference. Maybe it's been around so long that it is no longer consider a slang expression.

Here's what was said on http://www.parentsoup.com

".When chicken pox was first described, it was noted that the pox lesions looked more like they were placed upon the skin rather than being a part of the skin themselves. In fact, people long ago felt they looked like chick peas placed upon the skin. The Latin word for chick peas is cicer which is the original word that chicken pox got its name.

So you see, chicken pox has nothing to do with chickens, but the red bumps you have on your body were once thought to look like the vegetable called chick peas. I hope you feel better soon." Robert W. Steele, M.D., is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN.

And another source:
"Why is chicken pox called chicken pox? There is some suggestion that chicken pox is so-named because of the mildness of the disease, compared with small-pox, or that it has some distant connection or possibly even origin with the chicken. Another explanation is that this name is an allusion to chick peas, via the Latin word 'Cicer' meaning chick pea, due to the vague resemblance of the eruptions to chick peas."
http://www.sciencenet.org.uk/database/bio/humans/healthmedical/b00672d.html