The medical vocabulary of the XXIth century


Consult the french dictionary of the National Academy of Medicine

“To take things well, the dictionary is the book par excellence: all the other books are inside, it is only a question of drawing them out” (Anatole France)

I – Presentation

The dictionary of the National Academy of Medicine online permanently brings together all of the medical vocabulary whose enrichment it must follow linked to the extraordinary evolution of medicine and its means of expression in recent decades and in this early 21st century.

Only its online support allows such an ambition to regularly update and disseminate French medical thought to a wide audience.

Each term, each concept is accessible both by its entry in French and by an entry in English when it exists. Each complete article includes a brief lexicological definition, a more encyclopedic commentary, a reference to the author of the original publication and the date thereof, the etymology of the keywords, the synonym (s) or antonyms and a reference to other neighboring concepts accessible in the dictionary by a simple click.

This work is the continuation of the initial edition of fifteen volumes, conducted at the instigation of J.Ch. Sournia, between 1997 and 2007, mainly by the International Council of the French Language (CILF). This paper edition was a collective work of academicians and consultants conducted under the direction of the managers of specialized volumes whose names it is important to remember, failing to be able to cite all their collaborators here: P. Ambroise-Thomas, L. Auquier, JP Benhamou, D. Biquet, P. Blondeau, S. Bonfils, M. Bourel, M. Cara, J. Cauchoix, C. Chatelain, J. Civatte, B. Debesse, J. Frottier, P. Juillet, H. Laccoureye, M. Legrain, J. Milliez, G. Pallardy, P. Pialloux, P. Polonovski, Y. Pouliquen, J. Rochemaure.

“We make, undo, redo this beautiful dictionary, which is always very well done, will always be done” (Lebrun Pindare)

The “editorial board of the dictionary” * of the National Academy of Medicine, aware of the scope of the technical task and the scientific responsibility it represents, meets regularly twice a month for systematic updating definitions and introduction of new entries. Its powers are widened by the collaboration of “consultants” **, members of the Academy, who cannot join the committee. Each entry is updated, written with the concern of clarity and understanding by all (doctors, paramedics and civil society). Obsolete definitions are not deleted due to their historical interest and the indication of current concepts. Finally, the question sometimes arises of introducing concepts which are not directly, strictly medical, which relate to mathematics, physics and law, which are more and more often linked to professional practice.

Definitions are edited as soon as they are validated. It currently offers the reader more than 60,000 definitions.


II – Use of the dictionary

  1. Click, as prompted, on the blue line under the title of this page.
  2. Enter the subject of your research in the rectangle at the top of the page. You can use the character “%” as a wildcard (i.e dimi% ion will display words starting with dimi and ending with ion, containing other letters between the two parts, in that case : diminution).
  3. Click on search.

At the bottom of each page, there is a navigation to display the previous and next pages. You can specify a specific page to quickly display the desired term.

* Members of the Dictionary Editorial Committee: Catherine Buffet, Vincent Delmas, Jacques Frottier, Claude Pierre Giudicelli, François-Xavier Maquart, Jean-Louis Michaux, Gérard Morvan, Jean-Pierre Olié, François Rodhain, Jacques Rouëssé, Reiner Veitia, Jean -Louis Wémeau.
** Consultants : Raymond Ardaillou, Jean-Louis Arné, Brigitte Dréno, Bruno Falissard, Christian Géraut, Jacques Milliez, Alain Privat, Yvan Touitou, Richard Trèves.