Abraham Verghese: A doctor's touch

Important Vocabulary Words From The Video


When someone is ailing, they are not feeling well. They might have a cold, the flu, or something more serious.

  • The patient was ailing and in a lot of pain.
  • The ailing company is struggling to keep up with the competition.

The axilla is the area on the arm below the shoulder. It's often referred to as the "arm pit."

  • The axilla is a sensitive area, and it's common to get goosebumps when someone touches it.

Voluble means talkative, talkative. When he is voluble, he is always talking, and he doesn't usually stop to listen to others.

  • The teacher was very voluble and kept talking the entire time.
  • The student was very voluble and kept talking the entire time.

To shortchange someone is to give them less than what they deserve. Sometimes people shortchange others because they are not thinking about the consequences of their actions.

  • The store shortchanged the customer by not giving them the product that they bought.
  • The company shortchanged the employees by not paying them what they were owed.

To palpate is to feel or examine something with your fingers. You might palpate someone's chest to see if they have a heart attack, or you might palpate a cake to see if it's ready to be baked.

  • The doctor palpated the patient's chest to see if there was a heart attack.
  • The cake baker was trying to determine if the cake was ready by palpating it with her fingers.

Rales are small, sharp noises that you can sometimes hear when you have a cold. They are caused by the lungs trying to clear the airways of mucus.

  • I heard rales during the coughing fit.
  • The rales sound like someone is crying.