Nasal polyps are smooth, grape-like growths in the nose and sinuses of some patients with chronic sinusitis. But why are they called polyps? What does that word actually mean? The word “polyp” has changed over time. When we look back in old medical books we find that doctors in the 14th century used the words “polipus” or “pollipus.” These Middle English words came from the Greek word “polypous” which meant “many feet.” Originally, a polypous was a member of the cephalopod family of water creatures. These types of animals, such as the cuttlefish, squid or octopus, have 8 or 10 legs/tentacles. Centuries ago doctors thought that nasal polyps and cuttlefish (like the one in the picture) looked a lot alike. The rest, as they say, is history!