Typhoid fever, characterized by rashes and high temperatures, is an infection caused by Salmonella which can be spread through eating contaminated food. The word typhus was borrowed for medical usage in 1785 from the Ancient Greek word typhos, which meant "stupor", describing the fever brought about. However, typhos also had a second meaning, that of "smoke", probably due to a connection of opium and how smoking it caused a drowsy stupor. Fans of Greek mythology might want to note that this is connected to Typhon, the monster (whose name literally means "whirlwind") that was cast into Tartarus by Zeus. Anyway, this most likely has origins in a Proto-Indo-European word sounding something like dhubh, which meant "to scatter", with connotations of smoke or dust.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.