Cutis anserina
Better known as goose bumps, a temporary local change in the skin when it becomes rougher due to erection of little muscles, as from cold, fear, or excitement. The chain of events leading to this skin change starts with a stimulus such as cold or fear. That stimulus causes a nerve discharge from the sympathetic nervous system, a portion of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. The nerve discharge causes contraction of little muscles called the arrectores pilorum (the hair erector muscles). Contraction of these muscles elevates the hair follicles above the rest of the skin. And it is these tiny elevations we perceive as goose bumps. The words used to describe this condition are very curious and quite colorful. Goose bumps are also referred to as "gooseflesh." A fancier term for this familiar phenomenon is "horripilation." Horripilation was compounded from the Latin "horrere", to stand on end + "pilus", hair = hair standing on end. (If you think "horripilation" sounds horrible, you're right. The word "horrible" also came from the Latin "horrere" and referred to something that was so awfully dreadfully frightful that it made your hair stand on end.) Medicine does not use a horrible term such as "horripilation" and rarely resorts to the commonplace words, goose bumps or gooseflesh. Medicine has a special term, "cutis anserina" for goose bumps. But it goes back to the goose again, since "cutis", skin + "anser", goose = goose skin. Some biologists believe that goose bumps evolved as part of the fight-or-flight reaction along with heart rate increases that send the heart racing while blood rushes to the muscles to give them additional oxygen. A similar phenomenon, bristling, in fur-covered animals may have made them look larger and more frightening and kept them warmer by increasing the amount of air between hairs which traps body heat. But in people there seems to be no practical purpose for goose bumps except, of course, to make our skin crawl.

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cutis an·se·ri·na -.an(t)-sə-'rī-nə n, pl cutes an·se·ri·nae -'rī-.nē GOOSE BUMPS

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a transitory localized change in the skin surface caused by elevation of the hair follicles as a result of contraction of the arrectores pilorum muscles, a reflection of sympathetic nerve discharge. Called also goose flesh.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cutis anserina — m. dermat. Erección de las papilas epiteliales provocadas por el frío o por una emoción. Comúnmente se denomina piel de gallina. Medical Dictionary. 2011. cutis anserin …   Diccionario médico

  • Cutis anserina — Gänsehaut Als eine Gänsehaut (lat.: cutis anserina), in Frankreich, Spanien und der Schweiz auch als eine Hühnerhaut, bezeichnet man das typische Bild von aufgerichteter Körperbehaarung und kleiner Erhebungen der Hautoberfläche vor allem an Armen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cutis anserina — /an seuh ruy neuh/, Med. See goose flesh. [ < NL: goose flesh; see CUTIS, ANSERINE] * * * …   Universalium

  • Cutis anserina. — См. Гусиная кожа …   Большой толково-фразеологический словарь Михельсона (оригинальная орфография)

  • cutis anserina —    goose flesh …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • cutis anserina — …   Useful english dictionary

  • anserina — see CUTIS ANSERINA …   Medical dictionary

  • Cutis — (lat.), 1) Haut; daher C. anserīna, Gänsehaut; Cutītis, Hautentzündung; 2) Lederhaut 3) (Bot.), die Rinde einjähriger Pflanzen; 4) die ganze Unterlage der Epidermis, die noch nicht Holz ist …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Cutis — (lat.), die Lederhaut (s. Haut); auch die ganze Haut; C. anserina, Gänsehaut …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • cutis — SYN: skin. [L.] c. anserina contraction of the arrectores pilorum produced by cold, fear, or other stimulus, causing the follicular orifices to become prominent. SYN: goose flesh, gooseflesh. c. laxa [MIM*123700] SYN: dermatochalasis. c.… …   Medical dictionary

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