Lupus is the Latin word for wolf. The term has been associated with the disease since the 10th century, though the reasons are unclear. Erythematosus means redness. It is speculated that the name was given to describe the skin lesions (sores), which typically are red and perhaps at that time in history were thought to resemble the bite of a wolf. Today we know that not everyone with lupus has rashes or skin lesions, and those who do would not say their rashes look anything like a wolf bite.