I recently made the connection that typhus and typhoid are different diseases. The latter was more recently discovered; it was thought to be a variant of typhus, so they just added the suffix -oid (used to denote resemblance) and that was that. Typhus comes from the Ancient Greek word typhos, which meant "smoke"; the term was used by Hippocrates to describe conditions of stupor, and people later on thought that, since the affliction could cause feelings of drowsiness, it was an appropriate moniker. Typhos is from typhein, an earlier verb meaning "to smoke". That's thought to be from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction dheu, which meant "dust" or "vapor" but also had connotations of sensory confusion that led to the development of words such as deaf and typhoon.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.