Science

Why are the chicken pox called chicken pox?


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The name chickenpox has been around for centuries, and there are a number of theories as to how it got its name. One is that it's from the blisters that are seen with the illness. These red spots were once thought to look like chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

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We can’t be sure but the leading candidates are the similar appearance of the blisters and chickpeas. Another is that the blisters look like peck marks from a chicken.

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2 explanations are given in medical texts for the name Chicken Pox. 1, because the rash’s lesions can resemble chickpeas. The other is that the Old English word giccan: meaning, to itch: either got corrupted into chicken: or mixed up with cicen: meaning, young fowl.

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