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1560s, from medical Latin diabetes, from late Greek diabetes "excessive discharge of urine" (so named by Aretaeus the Cappadocian, physician of Alexandria, 2c.), literally "a passer-through, siphon," from diabainein "to pass through," from dia- "through" (see dia-) + bainein "to go" (see come).
An old common native name for it was pissing evil. In classical Greek, diabainein meant "to stand or walk with the legs apart," and diabetes meant "a drafting compass," from the position of the legs.
adult-onset diabetes n.
diabetes di·a·be·tes (dī'ə-bē'tĭs, -tēz)
Any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive discharge of urine and persistent thirst, especially one of the two types of diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is a public health threat that rivals HIV/AIDS in its reach and deadly toll. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), an alliance of diabetes associations in more than 160 countries, has described diabetes mellitus as a "global epidemic with devastating humanitarian, social, and economic consequences." The most prevalent form of the disease-accounting for 90% to 95% of diabetes cases-is type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes. At least 7 million people develop T2DM each year, and 3.8 million people die from complications of the disease. "Yet awareness of the global scale of the diabetes threat," the IDF contends, "remains pitifully low."