When she first developed anemia, she became tired often.

It is an example sentence for the word "anemia".
But I don't understand well why "develop" is used in the sentence that describes the word "anemia".
What's the difference between using "develop" and using "get / catch / be taken with[of]"?

1 Answer 1


"Develop" in this context carries the connotation that it is something that originated inside her body and had no external cause. Anemia is regarded as an illness caused by other factors, so it is "caused within".

The same thinking goes into the expression "to develop symptoms".

In contrast, a cold is something you catch or contract. I think the expression came about when the precise pathology of colds was not well understood, so the old thinking about colds having direct causes probably contributed; certainly, the external symptoms of a cold (which is what everyone thinks about when they think about having a cold) are caused the body's immune reaction, not by the infection itself. But you can still "develop a fever".

  • I'm not sure if i'm correct, but I feel that 'catch' connotes an instant infection. You can be immediately sick once you get caught, like "catch a cold". Anemia is not something you might get in one day and it will take a while (maybe long time) to develop because of one's poor diet maybe.
    – dan
    Oct 17, 2018 at 5:00
  • 1
    @dan: You catch a contagious illness. You develop idiopathic conditions. Oct 17, 2018 at 19:25
  • 1
    Or develop complications from a contagious illness. Oct 17, 2018 at 19:50

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