The Origin of the Word Hemorrhoids

The Origin of the Word “Haemorrhoids” (In Case You Wondered)

The word “Haemorrhoids” is derived from a combination of two words.  The Latin Haemorrhoidae (Haemo (blood) and rhoidae (flowing)), and the Greek Haimorrhoos.

It was possibly first used around 460BC by Hippocrates to describe this condition medically.  Over the centuries the word has, as every word does to some extent, altered in its spelling.  The original “a” has been dropped to give us Hemorrhoids which is the common spelling in the United States, and has been abbreviated even further to Hemroids.

The word Piles, which is very commonly used especially in the United Kingdom, is also derived from Latin.  It is from the word Pilae (balls) which was used to describe external haemorrhoids for obvious reasons to those that suffer.

Another peculiarity of this word and its synonyms is that it is always written in the plural.