Goose bump
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 curious and 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.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • goose bump — noun Raised skin, usually caused by the involuntary erection of hairs on the neck or arms caused by cold, excitement, or fear. Syn: goose pimples, goose skin …   Wiktionary

  • goose bump — noun reflex erection of hairs of the skin in response to cold or emotional stress or skin irritation • Syn: ↑pilomotor reflex, ↑gooseflesh, ↑goosebump, ↑goose pimple, ↑goose skin, ↑horripilation • Derivationally related forms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • goose skin — noun reflex erection of hairs of the skin in response to cold or emotional stress or skin irritation • Syn: ↑pilomotor reflex, ↑gooseflesh, ↑goose bump, ↑goosebump, ↑goose pimple, ↑horripilation • Derivationally related forms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • goose pimple — noun reflex erection of hairs of the skin in response to cold or emotional stress or skin irritation • Syn: ↑pilomotor reflex, ↑gooseflesh, ↑goose bump, ↑goosebump, ↑goose skin, ↑horripilation • Derivationally related forms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Goose egg — 1. In games, a zero; a score or record of naught; so named in allusion to the egglike outline of the zero sign 0. Called also {duck egg}. [Slang] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. A bump on the skin caused by a blow, especially one on the head. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bump — [[t]bʌ̱mp[/t]] bumps, bumping, bumped 1) VERB If you bump into something or someone, you accidentally hit them while you are moving. [V into/against n] They stopped walking and he almost bumped into them... [V into/against n] There was a jerk as… …   English dictionary

  • bump — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 sudden strong blow ADJECTIVE ▪ loud ▪ minor, slight VERB + BUMP ▪ feel, take PREPOSITION …   Collocations dictionary

  • goose egg — 1. n. a score of zero. □ We got a goose egg in the second inning. □ It was double goose eggs for the final score. 2. n. a bump on the head. □ Youve got quite a goose egg there. □ …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • goose egg — noun a) Zero; nothing. I missed every question on the quiz and got a goose egg. b) A swelling or bump on the head …   Wiktionary

  • bump — See: GOOSE BUMPS …   Dictionary of American idioms

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