Medical Definition of Idiopathic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Idiopathic: Of unknown cause. Any disease that is of uncertain or unknown origin may be termed idiopathic. For example, acute idiopathic polyneuritis, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, idiopathic scoliosis, etc.

From the New Latin idiopathia (primary disease), from the Greek idiopatheia, from idio-, from idios (one's own, personal) + -patheia, -pathic (feeling, suffering).

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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