The dizzy clinic and the dictionary (etymology and otology)

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 15 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:361
  1. Emma Stapleton, clinical research fellow, University of Edinburgh (

    In the “dizzy clinic” it is essential to find out whether a patient has a sensation of motion (vertigo), a feeling of unsteadiness (dysequilibrium), or both. Patients often use the word vertigo incorrectly, and frequently admit that they've read about it on the internet.

    The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery defines vertigo as “the sensation of motion when no motion is occurring relative to the earth's gravity, in contrast to motion intolerance, which is a feeling of dysequilibrium, spatial disorientation, or malaise during active or passive movement.”1

    However, vertigo is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of English as “a sensation of whirling and …

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