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Sign vs Symptom

 Reviewed 16 November 2018 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto

Google shows that the existing attempts to differentiate sign vs symptom are flawed. Overall, clarity in terminology is lacking, frankly it's a mess.

Sign vs Symptom

Regardless whether you wish to differentiate sign vs symptom, why restrict the definition of either or both to disease?

This documents inherent ambiguity within the definition itself. In this case, start with getting a clear picture first of what you mean with disease.

Besides, the definition of that Google loves so much to suggest it to everyone looking(!) is not disjunct: What is subjective to one, is objective to another! Whether person or instrument.


  • I notice circumstances I know many people don't notice, and likely you notice circumstances that I don't notice.
  • Also I know of instruments that today can detect circumstances (or in medicinenet parlance "phenomenons", lol) that weren't detectable just a couple of years ago.
  • Does that mean that the same circumstances yesterday were subjective but today suddenly are objective?
  • Further, "can be detected by someone", by whom? How many did you ask? Say, the five(?) you asked couldn't detect the "phenomenon" doh! is this "enough" to define(!) it as subjective?
  • You see the flaws of any such type of definition, right?

I do not differentiate sign vs symptom: to me they are synonyms. Because:

  1. There is no need for further differentiation of symptom once you have a clear picture what symptom means to you.
  2. Besides, Google could not find, and I could not come up with, any disjunct definition. And a disjunct definition is required for clarity in terminology.
  3. Therefore a disjunct definition also is required for treatment: You cannot agree how to treat an illness if you cannot agree what the illness is! eek

Note that interestingly, this is regardless whether your aim is to treat signs, or treat symptoms, or treat the cause: Clarity in terminology is required either way.



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