Most of the English words used today have their historic developments. The word ‘diagnosis’ as used today in modern English originated from the Greek word diágn%u014Dsis which stood for ‘knowing apart.’ This was originally derived from the diagign%u1E53skein which means to discern or distinguish. This was formed from ‘dia’ meaning ‘apart’ and gign%u1E53skein which means ‘to know or perceive.’ This is relative form of the English word ‘know’. Later during the post-classical period, the general idea or notion of ‘discerning’ or ‘distinguishing’ was applied significantly to the medical practice in order to establish and determine the nature of different diseases (Stockwell & Donka, 2001).
While there is no clearly recorded prove when the word diagnosis became an English word, it is believed that it was widely used during the post-classical period. Adopted from Greek words, the word diagnosis became popular in English language, and especially in the medical profession. Basically, the years before around the eighteenth century saw the birth of the word ‘diagnosis.’ Originally, the first use of this was purely medicine oriented in testing diseases affecting human beings (Stockwell & Donka, 2001).
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The first meaning of the word was the process through which a given disease condition was determined by carefully examining the circumstances and nature of infection. As new breakthroughs were realized in the fields of science and botany, the term was used to denote ‘scientific determination.’ This is the description whereby different biological groups are classified into different taxa or groups.
Continued use of the word gave it more meaning such as ‘the solution or answer’ to any given problematic experience or situation. Another recent meaning of diagnosis is the analysis or determination of the ‘nature’ or cause of a given situation (Francis, 2006). What we have observed here is that the word diagnosis has never changed its original meaning and significance in the medical profession. However, the term has acquired new meaning over the years thus making a key word in our modern English language.
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