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Englais or Franglish: The Case of Les Torsades de Pointes

Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(4):632-633. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-4-632
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France was a great exporter of medical terms for many years because of her pre-eminence in clinical medicine through much of the 19th century. Medical English bought unchanged such terms as bruit, chancre, folie à deux, petit mal, râle. In recent years the traffic has also run the other way—airway, clubbing, drip—to the distaste of lexicographic authorities on medical French (1). But we are still importing. The latest arrival may be les torsades de pointes, the term for the unusual ventricular arrhythmia reviewed in detail on pp. 578-584 of this issue (2). As Smith and Gallagher point out in the


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