Word of the Week: Pruritus

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


How to say itPruritus (proo-RIGHT-us)

What it means: Feeling itchy.

Where it comes from: Latin, prurio, "to itch"

person itching their arm

Oscar Wong / Getty Images

Where you might see or hear it: If you go to your provider with an irritating rash, they'll probably ask you if it itches. If you say yes, they would note "pruritus" as a symptom in your medical record.

When you might want to use it: Most of the time, it's easy enough just to say that you feel itchy. Sometimes, the cause of the itching is clear, like a rash.

In some cases, pruritus is caused by an underlying medical condition like liver disease. Sometimes, pruritus just happens and the cause isn't known.

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