Health Literacy Thesaurus: Medical terms, phrases, references,
and their Plain English equivalents or definitions

D (dander - dyspepsia)

Step 1: Click "Next" to show the term, phrase, or reference. Step 2: Click "Next" again
to show the Plain English equivalent or definition; Repeat Steps 1 and 2. (Best viewed on Firefox or Chrome)
danderflakes of skin
decomposedecay, rot, break down
decontaminateclean, kill germs, disinfect, purify, sterilize
decreasetake less, cut back, drop, lower, fall
deficiencylack, not enough
deficientlacking, not enough, poor
deformitya change from the normal shape, not normal, not a normal shape, oddly shaped
degenerativeweaken, worsen, decline, decay, droop
dehydrateneed water, water loss, remove water
deltoidarm muscle
dementiamemory loss that gets worse over time, Alzheimer’s
demonstrateprove, show
demyelinating disordernerve disease
deoxygenatedno oxygen
depleteempty, take all of, reduce, sap
dermalrelated to the skin
dermatologistskin doctor
dermatologyskin doctor’s office
designatecall, label, name
deteriorateget worse, fall apart, become unusable
determinefigure out, decide, find out, test
detrimentalbad, harmful, dangerous
developcreate, change, grow
deviatestray, change, take a different path
diabeteselevated sugar in the blood
diagnosetest, find out, figure out, learn cause
diagnosisfinding out the cause of an illness, condition, disease, medical answer
diarrhea diseasesdiarrhea
difficultiesproblems, trouble
dilatebecome wider, become larger, become bigger
dilatorsomething used to make something become larger, wider, or bigger
diluteweaken, make weaker, add liquid
diminishmake smaller, become less, take less
diminutivesmall, tiny, very little
discloseshow, tell
discoidshaped like a disk, round and flat
discolorationchange in color, not the color it normally is, odd color
discontinuestop, end, quit
discusstalk about, talk with
diseaseillness, sickness
dissemination (disseminate)spread, distribute, send out, make available
distinguishtell apart, set apart
distributehand out, give, spread
domicilehome, house
donateto give
donationgift, present
doseamount of medicine, chemical, or radiation; amount, size
dustfine, dry earth, powdery dirt
dwellinghome, house
dyspepsiaindigestion, heartburn

Source: CDC Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communications. Other related materials: Vaccines & Immunizations Glossary; Harvard School of Public Health "Plain Language Glossaries" for asthma, arthritis, and lupus; Medical Library Association "Deciphering Medspeak" for diabetes, stroke, and HIV-AIDS

Exercises created by Atty. Gerry T. Galacio; all rights reserved. You can freely use these exercises, but you must not upload them to any website or the cloud. For comments, questions, corrections, or suggestions, email


Exercises created with freeware Hot Potatoes v. 6.3 from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.


Family Matters (complete text of the Family Code of the Philippines; frequently asked questions; relevant laws like RA 9262; legal procedures and Rules of Court)


Legal Updates (in-depth discussions of issues affecting the Filipino family, legal procedures, support, inheritance, etc.): Plain Language / Plain English for government offices, private companies, schools, and organizations; Clear, concise English for effective legal writing; Legal procedures in civil and criminal cases; Heirs and inheritances

Better English resources and exercises (free resources on grammar, pronunciation, spelling, writing, vocabulary, idioms, reading comprehension, public speaking, etc.)


Be a better writer or editor through StyleWriter 4: this software checks 10,000 words in 12 seconds for hundreds of style and English usage issues like wordy and complex sentences, passive voice, nominalization, jargon, clichés, readability, spelling, etc. StyleWriter 4 has a graded 200,000 word and phrase dictionary, covering most of the words you will ever use in writing.


StyleWriter 4 is widely used in the US federal government (for example, Environmental Protection Agency). It is used in banks, law offices, and by professionals from various fields. It is fully customizable and comes with three versions: USA, UK, and Australian. StyleWriter 4 can edit memos, articles, essays, business letters, speeches, thesis, dissertations, books (fiction or non-fiction), and all kinds of corporate communications.