The journal was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, an English surgeon. The word "lancet" has two meanings: a surgical knife, and an architectural term "lancet arch", a window with a sharp pointed arch. This might suggest the "light of wisdom" or "to let in light".
The journal publishes original research articles, review articles ("seminars" and "reviews"), editorials, book reviews, correspondence, as well as news features and case reports. The Lancet has been owned by Elsevier since 1991. The journal has editorial offices in London, New York, and Beijing.
- "Prestigious Medical Journal, The Lancet, Issues Family Planning Series". Population Media Center. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "About the Lancet Medical Journal".
- "People at The Lancet". The Lancet. Retrieved 14 November 2018.