Word of the Week: Chronic

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Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say itChronic (craw-NICK)

What it means: Lasting a long time; being slow and progressive.

Where it comes from: From Greek, chronikós, "of time."

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Where you might see or hear it: Many health conditions can be characterized as chronic, meaning that they last a long time—even a lifetime. The word can also describe a condition that comes on and progresses slowly (compared to an acute condition that comes on suddenly and gets better quickly).

When you might want to use it: If you have a condition like arthritis, you might explain to your loved ones that it is chronic. You might have it the rest of your life, but there are things that you can do to manage it and try to keep it from getting worse for as long as possible.