Pronounced: BAHS-kij, noun

Notes: Not a cage for your boss…

Yesterday’s word

The word tachyphylaxis means “successively decreased response to a drug or a toxin over time”

First usage

Our word came into English in the 1910s

Background / Comments

As an avid reader of detective/crime/mystery stories, one of the good plots involves tachyphylaxis – the criminal will take gradually increasing amounts of some poison (arsenic, usually), and thus build up an immunity to what would be fatal dose to another person. He then shares a poisonous meal with the victim, who dies. If the source of poison is not known, the criminal can be find and can say that it couldn’t have been in the meal, since he shared the meal and is fine. If the source of the poison is known, he can pretend to be ill himself, but he recovers. Our word comes from a combination of Greek words: tachy- (swift) and phylaxis (protection). People who take long-term prescriptions may run across the other side of the meaning: to get the same effect, they either need to take higher doses, or they need to change medicine.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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