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Word of the Week: Contusion

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

How to say itContusion (con-TWO-schin)

What it means: A tissue injury, like a bruise.

Where it comes from: Latin, contusio, meaning “to pound.”

A white person's hand, showing just two fingers that are bloodied and bruised.

Markus Spiske/Unsplash


Where you might see or hear it: You might hear the term “contusion” used to describe an injury that was sustained during an attack or crime. Doctors use the term to note that a bodily tissue has been injured, but that there is no open wound in the skin.

The word contusion is sometimes used to describe a type of brain injury; a “brain bruise” is different from a concussion.

When you might want to use it: If you get an injury that did not break the skin, but it is bleeding beneath the skin and leaves a mark or bruise, you likely have a contusion. The tissue has been hurt, but there is no open wound.

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  • Merriam-Webster. Contusion. Updated September 28, 2021.