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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - How the 'Rx' Sign Came to Be

作者:Frank Beardsley 发布日期:11-20-2011

How the 'Rx' Sign Came to Be
How the 'Rx' Sign Came to Be

Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Every week at this time, the Voice of America tells about popular words and expressions used in the United States.  Some of these words and expressions are old.  Some are new.  Together, they form the living speech of the American people.

Our story today is very old.  It goes back about five-thousand years.  It is about a sign that is used to represent some words.

We see this sign on drug stores and whenever we visit a doctor to get an order for medicine.  It also appears on bottles of pills and other medicines.

The sign is formed by a line across the right foot of the letter "R."  It represents the word "prescription."  It has come to mean "take this medicine."

The sign has its beginnings five thousand years ago in Egypt.  At that time, people prayed to Horus, the god of the Sun.  It was said that when Horus was a child, he was attacked by Seth, the demon of evil.

The evil Seth put out the eye of the young Horus.  The mother of Horus called for help.  Her cry was answered by Thoth, the god of learning and magic.  Thoth, with his wisdom and special powers, healed the eye of Horus.  And the child was able to see again.

The ancient Egyptians used a drawing of the eye of Horus as a magic sign to protect themselves from disease, suffering and evil.  They cut this sign in the stones they used for buildings.  And it was painted on the papyrus rolls used for writing about medicine and doctors.

For thousands of years, the eye of Horus remained as a sign of the god's help to the suffering and sick.

Long after the fall of the ancient Egyptian civilization, doctors and alchemists in Europe continued the custom of showing a sign of the gods' help and protection.  But over the years, the sign changed from the eye of Horus to the sign for Jupiter, the chief god of the Romans.  Jupiter's sign looked much like the printed number "four."

That sign changed, also.  Today, it is the easily-recognized capital "R" with a line across its foot.

The sign no longer offers heavenly assistance to the sick.  It now means "take this medicine."

(MUSIC)

This VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES was written by Frank Beardsley.  The narrator was Maurice Joyce.  I'm Warren Sheer.

___

Editor's Note: One of our loyal website visitors has pointed out that there are two stories of where the term Rx may have come from. MedicineNet.com explains it this way:

The symbol "Rx" is usually said to stand for the Latin word "recipe" meaning "to take." It is customarily part of the superscription (heading) of a prescription.

Another explanation for the origin of Rx is that it was derived from the astrological sign for Jupiter which was once placed on prescriptions to invoke that god's blessing on the drug to help the patient recover.

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7934

网友的学习评论(13条):
作者:lemon
11-20-2011 12:22:13
Intersted.
作者:Webmaster
11-20-2011 20:7:55
在古埃及的众多护身符中,被称为“何露斯之眼”的护身符最常见。“何露斯之眼”在古埃及语言中被称为“乌加特”(Udjat或Wedjat),意为“完整的、未损伤的眼睛”。它的来历与何露斯神(Horus)为父报仇有关。奥西里斯与伊西丝之子何露斯长大成人后,在与杀父仇人塞特神(Seth)的搏斗中,何露斯的左眼被塞特夺走了。他的眼睛可非同寻常,因为他的左眼代表的是月亮,右眼代表的是太阳。现在左眼被夺走了,月亮神骚特(Thoth)自然要出手相助。在一个月圆之时,何露斯在月亮神的帮助下,经过殊死搏斗,终于打败了塞特,将左眼夺回。后来,何露斯之眼就成为辨别善恶、捍卫健康与幸福的护身符。人们也通常用“何露斯的绿眼睛”和“何露斯的白眼睛”这样的词来描写珍贵的葡萄酒。古埃及护身符“何露斯之眼”颇引人注目,它是一件镂空成形的釉器,构图复杂,玲珑剔透,主体纹饰为鹰隼何露斯之眉目,眼下的水滴与卷毛幻化为带利爪的鹰腿与拍动的翅膀。
作者:旭东
11-20-2011 21:13:20
"R" with a line across its foot ? What dose it look like ?
作者:Lee小驹
11-21-2011 9:9:33
I have seen this passage long before on this website.
作者:kenny zhang
11-21-2011 9:34:42
Good story
作者:小bell
11-21-2011 11:22:42
useful
作者:BeYourself
11-21-2011 19:28:9
The story of ancient Egyptians here is a little strange and confusing,however,the sign “Rx”is much easier to understand.Another medical sign "OTC" is common on the instructions of many medicine,which means "over the counter" ,that is to say,you can take the medicine without a dotor's prescription,right?
作者:rickyao
11-24-2011 14:20:1
RX:医生处方药OTC:非处方药
作者:neverapart
11-25-2011 13:29:29
learn a lot from it
作者:jane
11-25-2011 14:44:50
I have few knowledge of Egyption Gods or Greek Gods.In this article I know Horus ( the God of the sun) ,Seth and Thoth.
作者:Tina
11-27-2011 0:58:15
useful
作者:janely
11-30-2011 21:27:16
i like
作者:jlcjlc0101
3-22-2012 15:30:40
i like
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