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A.Word.A.Day--Munchausen syndrome

(MUNCH-hou-zen SIN drom) Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

noun: A factitious disorder in which otherwise healthy individuals seek to hospitalize themselves with feigned or self-induced pathology in order to receive surgical or other medical treatment.

Named after Baron von Munchhausen (1720-1797), German soldier and raconteur, whose fictionalized accounts of his own experiences suggest symptoms of the disorder.

"At one point she confesses to having a form of Munchausen syndrome, in which the patient feigns illness after illness. Writes Slater, 'Perhaps I was, and still am, a pretender, a person who creates illnesses because she needs time, attention, touch, because she knows no other way of telling her life's tale.'"
Lisa Shea; Lying; Elle; Jun 2000.

This week's theme: Eponyms derived from fact and fiction


He who is only just is cruel. Who on earth could live were all judged justly? -Lord Byron, poet (1788-1824)

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