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Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 30 Jan 2020

Serpiginous means creeping from one place to another. In medicine, it was originally, and still is commonly, applied to skin lesions that spread with an undulating border. However, radiology adopted the term in a manner synonymous with serpentine to mean tortuous, especially when describing blood vessels 2-4.

History and etymology

It derives from the Latin word serpīgo, which, like the Greek derivative herpes (ἕρπης), means "a creeping" 5,6. In now archaic English usage, serpigo refers to creeping skin diseases such as ringworm. Both serpigo and the English word serpent are derived from the Latin serpĕre, meaning "to creep" 1,5.

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