AskDefine | Define giantism

Dictionary Definition



1 excessive size; usually caused by excessive secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland [syn: gigantism, overgrowth]
2 excessive largeness of stature [syn: gigantism]

User Contributed Dictionary



giant + -ism



Extensive Definition

Gigantism or giantism, (from Greek gigas, gigantas "giant") is a condition characterized by excessive growth and height significantly above average. As a medical term, gigantism refers to the rare condition of pituitary gigantism due to prepubertal growth hormone excess. There is no precise definition of the degree of height that qualifies a person to be termed a "giant." The term has been typically applied to those whose height is not just in the upper 1% of the population but several standard deviations above mean for persons of the same sex, age, and ethnic ancestry. Typical adult heights of Americans of European descent to whom the term might be applied are 2.10 - 2.40 metres (7 - 8 feet). The term is seldom applied to those whose heights appear to be the healthy result of normal genetics and nutrition.

Etymology and terminology

Other names somewhat obsolete for this pathology are hypersomia (Greek: hyper over the normal level; soma body) and somatomegaly (Greek; soma body, object pronoun somatos of the body; megas, megalos great).


giantism in German: Riesenwuchs
giantism in Modern Greek (1453-): Γιγαντισμός
giantism in Estonian: Gigantism
giantism in Spanish: Gigantismo
giantism in Finnish: Jättikasvu
giantism in French: Gigantisme
giantism in Hebrew: ענקיות
giantism in Indonesian: Gigantisme
giantism in Italian: Gigantismo
giantism in Japanese: 巨人症
giantism in Polish: Gigantyzm
giantism in Portuguese: Gigantismo pituitário
giantism in Russian: Гигантизм
giantism in Swedish: Gigantism
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