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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1927, from hirsute + -ism.


n. excessive and increased hair growth in women in locations where the occurrence of terminal hair normally is minimal or absent


n. excessive hairiness [syn: hirsuteness]


Hirsutism is the excessive hairiness on women in those parts of the body where terminal hair normally is absent or minimal, such as a beard or chest hair. It refers to a male pattern of body hair ( androgenic hair) and it is therefore primarily of cosmetic and psychological concern. Akin to the modern day hypertrichosis (werewolf syndrome) or the historical figure wild man. Hirsutism is a medical sign rather than a disease and may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, especially if it develops well after puberty. The amount and location of the hair is measured by a Ferriman-Gallwey score.