Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or designating a disease having no known cause.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In pathology, of or pertaining to a primary morbid state; not secondary or arising from any other disease: as, an idiopathic affection: opposed to symptomatic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Med.) Pertaining to idiopathy; characterizing a disease arising primarily, and not in consequence of some other disease or injury; -- opposed to symptomatic, sympathetic, and traumatic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective pathology Of, relating to, or designating a disease or condition having no known cause.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective (of diseases) arising from an unknown cause

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

idio- + -pathic

Examples

Comments

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  • a medical term meaning 'of unknown cause' as in: idiopathic epilepsy.

    A doctor friend used to say, "imagine that you are having seizures and you don't know why. You rush off to a fancy diagnostic clinic which does extensive neurological and other testing. At last you sit down with the doctor who gives you a diagnosis of 'Idiopathic Epilepsy.' which means, 'you are having seizures and we don't know why'

    You are troubled to hear that you have epilepsy, and you spent a lot of money but you are somewhat relieved that at least you now have a 'diagnosis.' "

    As my doctor friend said, "you can't send them a bill that repeats back their own words ie. 'you have seizures and we don't know why'. When they hear the long medical term they think you really KNOW something!"

    November 4, 2009