What is benign etymology?

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I was studying benign tumor and I didn't knew what benign means, so I searched it on internet and there was written it is derived from Latin meaning generous, kindly and I didn't see any relation between benign tumor and kindliness it generosity. Can you please tell me what's it's relation with this meaning.
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  • #2
Nugatory
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The root, "bene" also has connotations of being good, well-intentioned, not harmful, the opposite of "malus" which applies to bad things. That's the sense in which we have benign tumors that don't want to kill you and malignant tumors that do.
 
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The root, "bene" also has connotations of being good, well-intentioned, not harmful, the opposite of "malus" which applies to bad things. That's the sense in which we have benign tumors that don't want to kill you and malignant tumors that do.
Thanks,
Can you please also tell me that how can I find etymology of these words fastly as some words like this took so much time (like 20-25 minutes) to find its meaning and in end when I get no suitable answer it seems that all that time has gone worthless.
 
  • #4
Buzz Bloom
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Hi Hemant:

https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=benign
benign (adj.)
early 14c., from Old French benigne "kind, benign, merciful, gracious" (12c., Modern French bénin, fem. bénigne), from Latin benignus "kindly, kindhearted, friendly, generous," literally "well born," from bene "well" (see bene-) + gignere "to bear, beget," from genus "birth" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). For similar sense evolution, compare gentle, kind (adj.), generous. Related: Benignly.
Entries Related to benign
*deu-
*gene-
bene-
benignant
benignity
generous
gentle
kind

I hope this is helpful.

Regards,
Buzz
 
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Hi Hemant:

https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=benign
benign (adj.)
early 14c., from Old French benigne "kind, benign, merciful, gracious" (12c., Modern French bénin, fem. bénigne), from Latin benignus "kindly, kindhearted, friendly, generous," literally "well born," from bene "well" (see bene-) + gignere "to bear, beget," from genus "birth" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). For similar sense evolution, compare gentle, kind (adj.), generous. Related: Benignly.
Entries Related to benign
*deu-
*gene-
bene-
benignant
benignity
generous
gentle
kind

I hope this is helpful.

Regards,
Buzz
Thanks,
I have seen this website and it has almost all words biology I have searched till now but in baneign tumor case I was unable to find relation between it's meaning and baneign's tumor.
Thanks again.
 
  • #6
jim mcnamara
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This term is used to reference the progression of tumor tissue.

Example of benign etymology, simplified:
Gliomas are tumors made of glial cells that may form in the human brain. In the beginning they may not be harmful at all. Sometimes autopsies will reveal them in brain tissue of older patients who died of an unrelated cause, and the glioma appears to have been there for years, creating no problem, and is not cancerous.

Benign gliomas may progress to "low grade" cancers, that do minimal damage, grow slowly, and are usually successfully treated once they are found.

Left alone the low grade gliomas may become "high grade", growing rapidly and damaging the surrounding tissues, and are harder to treat successfully. This progression is said to be a benign etymology.
Meaning: 'started out harmless'.

Which is why physicians generally prefer to treat tumors early on after detection, if it is possible.
 
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  • #7
BillTre
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Many words are used to define axes of meaning in biology.
Benign and malignant are an example of a good to bad axis.

Other more obvious anatomical examples are:
proximal-distal: close to or distant from the body
buccal-lingual: cheek side or tougue side of teeth
Anterior-posterior: front end or back end of body
medial-lateral: towards the midline or away from the midline of body
dorsal-ventral: towards the top or bottom of the body

evolutionary examples:
primitive-derived (or pleisomorphic-synapomorphic): an evolutionary ancestral state vs. one the changed comparatively recently
tree-like vs. bush-like vs. lawn: differing branching structures of known phylogenies
stem vs. twig or leaves: features of organisms early the evolution of a phyologeny vs. later ones (as depicted on a tree).

I'm sure there are others.

Not all of these would have an obvious etymology without knowing the context and concepts they are addressing.
 
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Not related to biology. But my knowledge of etymology increased by reading (novels, autobiography, simple things). When. I started noticing combination of letters attached to words frequently. So I investigated.
 
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I use 'non-malignant' instead of 'benign'.
 
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Not related to biology. But my knowledge of etymology increased by reading (novels, autobiography, simple things). When. I started noticing combination of letters attached to words frequently. So I investigated.
I will now try to break every word I see,this process seems to be very good because it includes both the things that is practice and it requires some mental work that are required to excel most of the things.
Thanks.
 
  • #11
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I use 'non-malignant' instead of 'benign'.
Unfortunately I can't use words on my own preference because I have to clear exams and even sometimes i have to accept wrong things given in our book because they don't consider what is right or wrong but only what is given in book.
 
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Thanks everyone for helping me.
 
  • #13
BillTre
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Not related to biology. But my knowledge of etymology increased by reading (novels, autobiography, simple things). When. I started noticing combination of letters attached to words frequently. So I investigated.
I will now try to break every word I see,this process seems to be very good because it includes both the things that is practice and it requires some mental work that are required to excel most of the things.
Thanks.
I have always liked understanding where the words used in science came from. There are several different ways to approach this.
I took Latin in junior high school. Lots of science words come from Latin words.
Greek (I guess older Greek) is another major source of words and bases of science words.
Additional words have also come from other languages (I know of some Japanese words for some Drosophila mutations for example), but these old languages were favored for a while (I guess to avoid a nationalistic bias).
Species names often used words local to where the species are found.

I used to have a small dictionary of prefixes and suffixes for science words. This helped figuring out the meanings of words that were new to me.
I also had several dictionaries of words specific to different sciences, such as general biology, geology, ecology. Each little area can have many otherwise obscure words.

Something nice about the words of science is that once formed, they often don't change much going from one language to another.

Here is an interesting word example:
I now recover (harvest) corneas from dead people for an eyebank. They have a lot of obscure medical words.
If someone still has a natural lens in their eye, it is referred to as a phakic situation. Phakic refers to the lens, but sounds like fake (not its meaning). Phakic in Greek means lentile, which is what a human lens is shaped like.
If some one has had their natural lens replaced with a plastic lens, it is a pseudophakic condition, which sounds like seems to imply fake-fake (which is not its meaning). Pseudo- refers to something fake or not natural. Combined with phakic it means fake (not natural) lens.
 
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Unfortunately I can't use words on my own preference because I have to clear exams and even sometimes i have to accept wrong things given in our book because they don't consider what is right or wrong but only what is given in book.
Outside of a medical context, benign means something akin to benevolent without the same connotation of activeness. For your exams, you should of course use the prescribed terms as directed, but you might want to recognize that as such they may be part of an argot or jargon or special cant parlance.

The word 'benign', used medically to mean 'non-cancerous' is in my view an especially egregiously non-standard usage. Sebacious cysts are not pleasant and gentle; they can even be prurient (itchy).

The word 'remission' is another -- in ordinary English it means cancellation of a debt (as distinguished from 'remittance', which means payment), while in medicine, it means abatement of progress of a disease -- we don't owe any debt to a disease.
 
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What really piqued my interest was reading: The Autobiography of Malcom X. In particular, how he breaks down the word of demagogue, its original meaning and how it changed.
 

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