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While researching a genealogy line, I came upon a death record for a 14 day old child. The cause of death was given as “marasmus.” I had never heard of this word before, so I looked it up. Sure enough, it is an archaic word that would today be interpreted as “failure to thrive.” Here is the full definition:


noun ma·ras·mus \ mə-ˈraz-məs \

Popularity: Bottom 30% of words

Definition of marasmus

: a condition of chronic undernourishment occurring especially in children and usually caused by a diet deficient in calories and proteins

— marasmic play \-ˈraz-mik\ adjective

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marasmus