Learn English – the origin of “stat”


When watching medical television shows, I often hear the doctors (actors) using the term "stat", which I understand to mean "do [action] quickly/immediately". Where did this term originate, and where is it derived from?

Best Answer

According to the OED, stat in this sense originated in pharmacology. The word stat would be written on a prescription to mean "immediately". The OED gives two citations for this:

  • 1875 — W. H. Griffiths Lessons on Prescriptions iv. 18: "Stat., immediately."
  • 1971 — Lancet 25 Sept. 700/2: "Stat., to be given at once."

The word stat is an abbreviation of the Latin word statim, which has the meaning "instantly/immediately".

This usage was then generalized beyond the domain of prescriptions to refer to any action that needed to be taken immediately.