lithotripter

noun

lith·​o·​trip·​ter ˈli-thə-ˌtrip-tər How to pronounce lithotripter (audio)
variants or less commonly lithotriptor
: a device for performing lithotripsy
especially : a noninvasive device that pulverizes stones by focusing shock waves on a patient immersed in a water bath

Word History

Etymology

respelling, probably after German Lithotripter, of earlier lithotriptor, alteration (by substitution of litho-) of earlier lithontriptor, from lithontriptic "breaking up bladder stones" (borrowed from New Latin lithōntripticus, lithōnthrypticus) + -or entry 1; lithōnthrypticus derivative, with -icus -ic entry 1, from the presumed Greek phrase (phármaka tôn en nephroîs) líthōn thryptiká "(drugs) breaking stones into pieces (in the kidneys)"

Note: The Greek adjective thryptikós is a derivative of thrýptō, thrýptein "to break into pieces, crumble." The Latin variant with -tripticus is presumably the result of confusion with Greek triptós, the verbal adjective of trī́bein "to rub, grind, wear down" (see lithotripsy). The phrase phármaka tôn en nephroîs líthōn thryptiká has been attributed to Galen, though it is unclear if it occurs as such in the Galenic corpus. Oxymel (honey mixed with diluted acetic acid) as a treatment for kidney stones is discussed in De locis affectis (vol. 8, p. 409 in Kühn's edition of Galen).

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lithotripter was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near lithotripter

Cite this Entry

“Lithotripter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lithotripter. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition

lithotripter

noun
lith·​o·​trip·​ter
variants also lithotriptor
: a device for performing lithotripsy
especially : a noninvasive device that pulverizes calculi by focusing shock waves on a patient immersed in a water bath
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