We Are Lesion


There are some words I just despise. Like nasty. And ilk.

Some words I hate for how ugly they sound, others for my association with them. Some words have both marks against them—like lesion. There is nothing good about that word. First of all, it sounds like a disease, with that eeezh sound dragging itself along like yellow mucus.

Lesion also sounds like legion, which I associate with the apocalyptic movie Legion, and legend, which reminds me of Will Smith’s dog turning into a zombie in I am Legend. One movie has possessed people and the other has the living dead. So not good.

As if this weren’t bad enough, you never hear lesion in a happy context. One time when I had weird neurological symptoms in my feet and hands, my doctor ordered an MRI to look for lesions on my spinal cord. What, like I might have gaping holes in my central nervous system? A darkly adaptable word, lesion can also refer to tumors: “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones, but you have a malignant lesion on your brain.”

By the way, there’s another nasty word: malignant. Throw a g up against an n and nothing good happens. You get words like ignorant. Or lignum. Why would anyone call something lignum? Sounds like a gum infection.

In the interest of cheering up the English language, I’m calling for a moratorium (that’s another unpleasant word—sounds like mortuary) on the use of lesion. The medical profession will just have to find another word for delivering bad news. Or we can make one up that sounds like sunshine and buttercups.

“Ms. Abernathy, your MRI revealed a shamarelle on your kidney.”

“Did it? Oh that’s lovely!”

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