Saturday, March 2, 2013

'Nosebleed' is Out, 'Epistaxis' is In

Actually, my nose is not dripping with bloody red this moment. This post is about the origin and evolution of two popular Filipino expressions - the "nosebleed" and, if in case you don't know yet, the "epistaxis".

About five years ago, a television advertisement of a sitcom was once a talk in town. The trailer showed Pokwang, a local comedian, having the literal dripping of blood from her nose because she was talking to a guest who was an affectedly genteel person speaking in pure English.

Since then social life was never the same and it abuzzed everywhere with the "nosebleed" expression. The expression became an instant part of the daily parlance of this nation of ingenious people although nobody might remember today how the expression started in that television program.

The expression "nosebleed" in the Filipino context is not a medical condition in itself. The expression is an informal term uttered in response to instances encountering hifalutin words in conversations, usually in English. In campus life, the expression is usually the reaction of most students after a difficult examination. It is also widely used to describe reactions to encounters of complex problems, formal interviews and technical reports.

On the other side of things, two years ago, I was chatting online to a distant relative who is a registered nurse. Our conversation went on something about my work that is associated with etiology of developmental disabilities of the children that I handle. My relative reacted: epistaxis!

The expression "epistaxis" is the exact medical term for the same condition as nosebleed. The expression originated most probably from the realm of nurses and doctors as it is obviously a medical terminology . Although the expression is more known in the medical world, I believe it is slowly creeping  into our daily parlance at present.

For this post, I googled images for "nosebleed" and it showed noses dripping with blood while for "epistaxis" showed the internal causation of such condition. In my own point of view, "epistaxis" is a more technical word and therefore it further intensifies the context of usage.

One time, I was departing from a friend's place and as a twist I used my little knowledge on French language to say goodbye. He replied with the "epistaxis" instead of the "nosebleed" expression. I laughed because I knew it. I replied: You might want to help yourself with some coagulants!

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