Scientifically, it’s a term for an internal part of the body protruding where it shouldn’t. In everyday speech, however, Dutch uses it for a back problem and English for an abdominal one.
A nice, straightforward valse vriend for you today: a word that means something completely different in Dutch and English.
- in Dutch, a hernia is a disc in your spine getting squished and distorted, the painful condition known in everyday English as a slipped disc (though it hasn’t really slipped at all).
- In English, a hernia is when the parts of the instestines get stuck through a weakened lower abdominal wall. Also very nasty, but known in everyday Dutch as a liesbreuk.
In both cases, the medical terminology is clearer – a herniated disc and an inguinal hernia respectively.
Prevalence: low. Not a common topic of conversation, except among hypochondriacs perhaps.
Frequency: high. Outside the medical world, few people would get this one right. Unless they’ve had a friend or acquaintance who’s suffered one.
Native: no. Confused me thoroughly the first time I came across it.
3 thoughts on “Hernia”
And a liesbreuk definitely isn’t a “ruptured groin” or anything like that. Sounds even nastier…!
voor mij als arts kan een hernia beide zijn. hernia cervicalis, lumbalis, L5-S1, nekhernia, rughernia zitten in de rug, hernia inguinalis, spigeli, umbilicalis, cicatricialis in de buikwand. Maar tegen patienten zou ik het in het tweede geval eerder over een liesbreuk, navelbreuk, littekenbreuk hebben.
Yes, thanks for that Bart. I was indeed trying to distinguish between the everyday usages in particular.