concussion

Definitions

General English

Medical

  • noun the act of applying force to any part of the body
  • noun loss of consciousness for a short period, caused by a blow to the head

Military

  • noun a temporary incapacity caused by a blow to the head

Sports

  • noun an injury to the brain, often resulting from a blow to the head, that can cause temporary disorientation, memory loss, or unconsciousness
  • noun an injury to an organ of the body, usually caused by a violent blow or shaking

Origin & History of “concussion”

The etymological notion underlying concussion is of ‘violent shaking’; the modern connotation of a ‘jarring injury to the brain’ did not emerge until the 16th century. The word comes from late Latin concussiō, a noun derived from the past participial stem of concutere ‘shake violently’. this was a compound verb formed from the intensive prefix com- and -cutere, an alteration of quatere ‘shake, strike’ (its variant quassāre was the source of English quash and cashier ‘dismiss’, and probably lies behind cascara (19th c.), etymologically ‘bark broken off the tree’). The verb concuss is 17th-century.

The related percussion (16th c.) comes ultimately from Latin percutere ‘strike through’.
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