Open main menu

Wiktionary β




Borrowed from New Latin diathesis, from Ancient Greek διάθεσις (diáthesis, state, condition), from διατίθημι (diatíthēmi, to arrange).



diathesis (plural diatheses)

  1. (medicine) A hereditary or constitutional predisposition to a disease or other disorder.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture I:
      Medical materialism seems indeed a good appellation for the too simple-minded system of thought which we are considering. ... All such mental over-tensions, it says, are, when you come to the bottom of the matter, mere affairs of diathesis (auto-intoxications most probably), due to the perverted action of various glands which physiology will yet discover.
    • 1997, Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, Folio Society 2016, p. 611:
      When a coal miner developed the eye disease nystagmus, was this to be diagnosed as due to work conditions or to an inherent constitutional diathesis?
  2. (grammar) Voice (active or passive).