Introduction - Webster's New World Medical Dictionary

(From the Webster's New World™ Medical Dictionary, Third Edition)

lexicographer A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge
--Samuel Johnson, 1755

Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, Third EditionLike the previous editions, this edition has been conceived and developed by the staff of the health information Web site . One of the earliest health information sites on the Internet, has devoted a number of years to creating an online medical dictionary that now contains a wealth of contemporary medical terms and provides the broad foundation for this book.

To create this new edition of Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, we have reviewed every entry in the previous edition and have rewritten and strengthened many of those entries. In addition, we have selected new entries from our online medical dictionary for incorporation into this second edition. A unique feature of an online medical dictionary is that it can (and does) evolve rapidly to keep pace with the changes in medicine. We have taken advantage of this to update Webster's New World Medical Dictionary.

Like all of the medical content from, this dictionary was written and edited by physicians, to be used by anyone and everyone concerned about their own health or the health of those who matter to them. All the medical information found on has been developed by a network of physicians. The physicians select the topics and review and edit all written content. These physicians also make use of medical specialists and health writers throughout the US. The "About the Authors" pages provide abbreviated biographies of the editors and specialists who contributed content to the online dictionary and this book.

Medicine is now advancing with remarkable rapidity on many fronts, and the language of medicine is also continually evolving with remarkable rapidity, commensurate with the changes. Today, there is constant need for communication between and among consumers and providers of health care. There is consequently a need for a high-quality, contemporary medical dictionary. In the current health care environment, patients and their physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals must be able to discuss the ever-changing aspects of health, disease, and biotechnology. An accurate understanding of medical terminology can assist communication and improve care for patients, and it can help to alleviate the concerns of family members and friends.

The fact that the content of this dictionary is physician-produced by ensures an unusual degree of professional expertise, reliability, and perspective. We hope that you will find Webster's New World Medical Dictionary, Third Edition a valuable addition to your family or office library and a source of both information and illumination in any medical situation.

William C Shiel, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Co-Editors in Chief

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