AskDefine | Define gigantism

Dictionary Definition



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

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality or state of being gigantic; being of abnormally large size.
  2. A condition where there is over-production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland in a child before the bone growth plates close, resulting in excessive long bone growth, accompanied by muscular weakness and sexual impotence.


See also

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).


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