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Chicken Pox Name Origin

Updated on March 21, 2012

So What Do Chickens Have To Do With Chicken Pox

The correct answer is that no one knows for sure. Varicella, or as it's more commonly referred Chicken Pox is disease that most people have heard of. Interestingly, despite the fact that most people are familiar with Chicken Pox no one knows for sure where the name came from. There several different theories and I through a small amount of research I've discovered a few of them to share.

Chick Peas

One theory is that some people thought that the sores that Chick Pox cause look like small chick peas, and therefore people started calling it Chicken Pox.

Chicken Pecks

This theory is simply that the sores that Chicken Pox causes looks like chicken pecks. Therefore people started referring to the disease as Chicken Pox.


Another theory is that the name come from the Old English word gican, which meant itching.

Weak Sauce

Another theory is that because Chicken Pox was a weaker member of the pox family of diseases, that it was the 'chicken' of the pox. Therefore it became Chicken Pox.

In Conclusion

There are probably more theories you can find through research, but it seems that no one knows for sure. I guess this one will remain a mystery.

So which theory do you think best fits the explanation for the origin of the name Chicken Pox

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