From Ganfyd

Jump to: navigation, search

This article is a stub. Please feel free to expand it and make it more encyclopaedic.


According to Wiktionary, "genesis" (and its other forms) is a word with very ancient origins.

The word "genesis" gets used a lot in medicine in various forms. It is generally used to mean something along the line of the creation or causation of something.

Many English words have the suffix -genesis or -genic; and they include a fair proportion of medical words.

The word comes into English from both Latin and Greek (the ancient Romans presumably adopted the ancient Greek word γένεσις), so those pedantic grammarians that insist that compound words should be based entirely on either e.g. Greek or Latin sources might accept compound words with one of these suffices where the prefix is from either language without complaining that the word is a heteroradical. (Heteroradical is itself a deliberately mischevious word, designed to tease the pedants, being based on the Greek word for "different" - "heteros" (ἕτερος) and the Latin word for root, "radix".)

The usual meanings of the forms of the words are as follows:

  • x-genesis is a noun meaning the creation, formation, or coming into existence of x.
  • x-genous is an adjective to describe something caused by x. It is little used in practice, to the dismay of the grammarians.
  • x-genic is an adjective which is usually used to describe something that creates or causes x. Note, however, that it is sometimes used - some grammarians would say misused - to describe something caused by x.

Medical words using these suffices include (and there are many others):

  • "oncogenesis" and "oncogenic", where "onco" refers to a tumour, lump, or neoplastic lesion - as in "oncology", "oncologic", "oncological", and "oncologist". Example: strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) which are known to cause cervical and other cancers are described as "oncogenic". (For some reason, such strains of HPV are seldom if ever described as "carcinogenic" - another such compound word, where "carcino"' refers to "cancer", and which is commonly used to describe e.g. the cancer-causing effects of smoking.)
  • "Iatrogenic", which is used mean "caused by doctors", as in "iatrogenic illness". (Some grammarians would prefer "iatrogenous"). (The word has also to the delight of some grammarians, been heard to describe the process of fathering several children all of whom become doctors.) ("Doctor" in this section refers to what we would now, strictly, call a "registered medical practitioner".)