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Coryza is a word describing the symptoms of a head cold.[1] It describes the inflammation of the mucus membranes lining the nasal cavity which usually gives rise to the symptoms of nasal congestion and loss of smell, among other symptoms. It should be noted that coryza may not always have an infectious or allergenic etiology and can be due to something as innocuous as a cold wind or spicy food. It is also a symptom of narcotic withdrawal. Coryza is classically used in association with the "three Cs" of Measles infection: coryza, conjunctivitis, and cough.[2]

This word may have its roots in the Greek Koryza, which is likely to be compounded from "kara" and "zeein". which are the noun for head and the verb, to boil. Coryza would therefore be a boiling over of the head. According to another source, coryza was an ancient Greek word denoting a fool. According to physician Andrew Wylie, "we use the term for a cold in the head, but the two are really synonymous. The ancient Romans advised their patients to clean their nostrils and thereby sharpen their wits."[3]


  1. The Faber Pocket Medical Dictionary. Faber and Faber. London & Boston, "first published" 1978.
  2. Kempe,C. H. Current Pediatric Diagnosis & Treatment. Appleton & Lange, 1987.
  3. Wylie, A, (1927). "Rhinology and laryngology in literature and Folk-Lore.". The Journal of Laryngology & Otology 42 (2): 81–87. 

See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





countable and uncountable; plural coryzas

coryza (countable and uncountable; plural coryzas)

  1. (pathology) Inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nasal cavity, usually causing a running nose, nasal congestion and loss of smell.


  • Bulgarian: ринит, тежка хрема

Derived terms


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