Saturday, January 13, 2007


I was thinking about a particular line from a poem of mine:

quintuple amputee can't you heal us?
and started to wonder about the closely related term quintaplegic. Do people use this term? And when they use it, is it always in a ribald way? So, instead of doing some real research, I tallied up page counts at Google, checking all the Latin and Greek possibilities I could think of.

(Sorry about the whitespace - I do not have sufficient HTML-fu to figure out why that table's doing that.) So it turns out that quintaplegic isn't even the most popular term in its category, which typically refers to individuals who do not have control over their neck muscles. The higher numbers usually refer to non-human creatures. I didn't find any hits for prefixes greater than 12. By comparison, a search on paraplegic yields 1210000 hits.


Kelley said...

So what do you call it when a centipede becomes immobilized?

RichM said...

centiplegic 13, hectoplegic 0. The Web has spoken!