Review of "Principles and practice of surgery" by John Ashurst.

Buffalo Medical Journal

1872. Volume 27, Page 280

The editor


We notice but few clerical errors: "patience" is written for patients (p 757), "coccydynia" for coccyodynia, (p. 243.)

Note by Jon Miles:

There has been confusion about the name for coccydynia from when it was first named. Almost immediately, three different spellings were in use, coccyodynia coccygodynia and coccydynia. The suggestion in the review above is that the third spelling, now the most common, was originally a typographical error.

Pain around the coccyx was first given a specific name in 1859 by the distinguished Edinburgh surgeon Sir James Simpson, who named it ‘coccyodynia’ by analogy with pleurodynia, gastrodynia and mastodynia. Others pointed out this was not the etymologically correct derivation from the Greek words for coccyx and pain (??????a? and ?d???), which should be ‘coccygodynia’, and this spelling was used by some others, such as the editors of the British Medical Journal. Later republication of Simpson’s collected work used the spelling ‘coccygodynia’. A third spelling, ‘coccydynia’, began to be used in 1861, so that all three spellings were in use in English within two years of the publication of Simpson’s paper. The editor of the Buffalo Medical Journal later attributed ‘coccydynia’ to a typographical error for ‘coccyodynia’.

‘Coccygodynia’ quickly became the dominant spelling in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the original spelling virtually dying out by 1910. Other spellings, such as ‘coccydinia’ have occasionally been used in medical texts, and more than a dozen other versions are found on the internet. Another formulation, ‘coccyalgia’, has also been used, but at low frequencies.

In the 21st century, ‘coccydynia’ has become the dominant spelling, outnumbering ‘coccygodynia’ by about two to one in recent papers on PubMed.7

In French, the spelling ‘coccygodynie’ has been dominant, with only a few references to ‘coccydynie’ around the turn of the 20th century. Google books shows that in works written in German, ‘coccygodynie’ was the dominant spelling until the 1980s, when ‘kokzygodynie’ became dominant.

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