1718, Modern Latin, originally from the title of a poem, "Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus" "Syphilis, or the French Disease," 1530, by Veronese doctor Girolamo Fracastoro (1483-1553), which tells the tale of the shepherd Syphilus, supposed to be the first sufferer from the disease. Fracastoro first used the word as a generic term for the disease in 1546 treatise "De Contagione." Why he chose the name is unknown; it may be intended as Latin for "Pig-lover," though there was also a Sipylus, a son of Niobe, in Ovid.
syphilis syph·i·lis (sĭf'ə-lĭs)
A chronic infectious disease caused by Treponema pallidum, either transmitted by direct contact, usually in sexual intercourse, or passed from mother to child in utero, and progressing through three stages characterized respectively by local formation of chancres, ulcerous skin eruptions, and systemic infection that leads to general paresis.
A sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum that is characterized in its primary stage by genital sores. If untreated, skin ulcers develop in the next stage, called secondary syphilis. As the disease progresses to potentially fatal tertiary syphilis, neurologic involvement with weakness and skeletal or cardiovascular damage can occur.
A sexually transmitted disease caused by a microorganism. In its initial stages (called primary syphilis), it is manifested by a skin ulcer called a chancre. If the disease is not treated by penicillin or other antibiotics, the infection becomes chronic. In so-called tertiary syphilis, virtually any tissue in the body can be damaged, including the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The disease, if left untreated, can cause blindness, mental illness, and death.