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



diathesis (countable and uncountable, 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).

Derived terms[edit]