Words Coined by Roger J. Williams

Pantothenic acid, 1933

A B-vitamin. (Greek pantothen = “from everywhere”; now known to apply equally well to many other nutrients)

Williams, R. J., Lyman, C. M., Goodyear, G. H., Truesdail, J. H. and Holaday, D. Pantothenic Acid, A Growth Determinant of Universal Biological Occurrence. J. American Chemical Society, 1933; 55:2912-27.

Cited as a “Citation Classic” in Current Contents, Life Sciences and Clinical Medicine editions, August 27, 1990, 20-21, with commentaries by Williams and the editor.


Folic acid, 1941

A B-vitamin. (Latin folium = leaf)

Mitchell, H. K., Snell, E. E. and Williams, R J. The Concentration of “Folic Acid.” J. American Chemical Society, 1941; 63:2284.

Reprinted as a “Nutrition Classic” in Nutrition Reviews, 1988; 46:324-5


Avidin, 1941

A protein in raw egg white that avidly binds biotin (a B-vitamin), making it unavailable.

Eakin, R. E., Snell, E. E. and Williams, R. J. The Concentration and Assay of Avidin, the Injury-Producing Protein in Raw Egg White. J. Biological Chemistry, 1941; 140:535-43


Genetotrophic disease, 1949

A disease having both genetic (geneto) and nutritional (trophic) roots.

Williams, R. J., Berry, L. J. and Beerstecher, E. Jr. Individual Metabolic Patterns, Alcoholism, Genetotrophic Diseases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 1949; 35:265-71. See also Williams’s book, Biochemical Individuality: The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept, 1956


Nutrilite, 1928

A substance needed in small amounts in the nutrition of any kind of organism, including plants, bacteria, and fungi (like a vitamin in animals).

Williams, R. J. Nutrilites. Science, 1928; 67:607


Propetology, 1961

A potential science of the “leaning” of individuals toward certain diseases (Greek propet = leaning toward)

Williams, R. J. and Siegel, F. L. “Propetology,” A New Branch of Medical Science? American  Journal of  Medicine, 1961; 31:325-7


Isotel, 1943

A substance having the same purpose or function as another (Greek isos = same, telos = purpose)

Williams, R. J. Isotel, Isotelic. Science, 1943; 98:386