The white albumBMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7161.797 (Published 19 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:797
- Grant Hutchison, consultant anaesthetist
Candida albicans, the organism that causes thrush, rather oversells itself by deriving its name from two words that both mean “white.”
The Latin candidus referred to a bright, almost glistening white. It is the origin of such luminous words as incandescent and candle. Some etymologists also make a link to the word incendiary, tracing it to the Latin incandere, “to cause to glow.” This burning link can be extended to incense, used either as a verb (when tempers are ignited) or as a noun (when an aromatic resin is burned in a censer).
The association of whiteness with purity and simplicity gives us the word candid. A Roman citizen seeking election to the post of magistrate would exploit this mental connection by …