MEANING: noun: A method of assessing a newborn’s health. Also known as Apgar score.

ETYMOLOGY: After anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) who devised it. Earliest documented use: 1959.

NOTES: This is a judging world and we get evaluated right from birth (Apgar) to death (how many people came to the funeral). In 1953, Dr. Virginia Apgar devised a quick way to assess the health of a newborn child. She assigned 0, 1, or 2 points for each of the five criteria: heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, skin color, and reflex response. The score is typically calculated at one minute and five minutes after birth.

Ten years after the debut of the Apgar score, Dr. L. Joseph Butterfield introduced an acronym as a mnemonic aid for the term: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration. See backronym.


A.P. TAR - a journalist in the Navy

ZAP-GAR - an electric fish

A-P GEAR - transfers power and/or rotation in the front-to-back direction