Word Origin & History
1634, of uncertain origin. Originally a local name for the disease in Dorset and Somerset, England. Some derive it from a Dorset word, rucket "to breathe with difficulty," but the sense connection is difficult. The Mod.L. name for the disease, rachitis, comes from Late Gk. rhachitis "inflammation of
the spine," from Gk. rhakhis "spine," but this was chosen by Whistler for resemblance to rickets. Rickety "liable to fall down" (1685) is from rickets via notion of "weak, unhealthy," but has rarely been used in its literal sense.