Thursday, 1 May 2014

Chirurgeon - A Surgeon of Chirurgery

A man in a fancy dress surgeon's costume
Seems legit
(photo by Jamie Durrant)


Noun. Archaic. Middle English.
[Old French cirurgien (modern chir-), based on Latin chirurgia, from Greek kheirourgia 'handiwork, surgery', from kheir 'hand' + ergon 'work'.]

A surgeon.
Three men extracting a stone (of folly) from a conscious patient's head
Extraction of the Stone of Folly
Painting by Pieter Quast (1605-1647)


Noun. Archaic. Late Middle English.
[Old French cirurgerie.]


Lexicolatry really isn't the place for dispensing medical advice, but might I just say that if it says chirurgeon or chirurgery on your surgeon's degree, it might be an idea to keep shopping around for that kidney stone removal, or at the very least confirm that he's done a refresher course or two since the Middle Ages. And might I also say, because I do rather like the comical nature of the words chirurgeon and chirurgery, that while its origins are 100% allopathic, this is a word just begging to be reclaimed by alternative health specialists. I can just envision the opening of the London School of Chirurgery, with hundreds of entrepreneurial chirurgeons proudly displaying their chirurgical diplomas, earned after an intensive two-week course that fully qualifies them to remove your stones of folly, intestinal parasites (which are very vogue right now) and hard-earned cash. But hey - these guys deserve to earn some paper; getting a bona fide diploma from my London School of Chirurgery will set you back at least €200.

So, my School of Chirurgery - any investors?

If not, are there any other ways we can keep these comically incompetent words alive?

Do please anaesthetise us with your most cutting comments in the box below.


  1. Comically incompetent?? Oh mon dieu! They are 100% legitimate in Greek.

  2. Keep chirurgery alive? Why do you think they knock you out before they start operating? It's all saws and choppers really, you know. All that key-hole stuff is just for the brochure.

    1. I just think medical procedures are so serious - surely a word like 'chirurgery' would bring some much needed levity to the situation.


      Just me?

      OK then.

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