Wordsmith.Org


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


This week's theme
Words from medicine.

This week's words
costive
roborant
catholicon
atrabilious
linctus

Today's word in
Visual Thesaurus

Got a website?
Free content for your site
words, quotations & more
Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Where I lived back east, there was a medical facility called Doctors' Hospital. I have to say it was reassuring. I wouldn't want engineers treating me if I broke an arm. On the other hand, maybe I just misunderstood the name. Perhaps it was an exclusive place meant only for doctors. Well, that would be a mutual healing society, but who am I to judge? It's the era of super-specialization. For all I know, there might even be a Lawyers' Law Firm, representing only those in the legal profession (motto: We know you better).

I have since discovered that besides the one mentioned at the beginning, there are similarly named hospitals all over the place, with various placements or omission of the apostrophe, such as Doctor's Hospital and Doctors Hospital. Whatever their names, we thank them for not letting plumbers perform colonoscopies.

This week we'll look at five terms connected with medicine, most of which are now used metaphorically.

costive

PRONUNCIATION:
(KOS-tiv)

MEANING:
adjective: 1. Slow to act or speak. 2. Stingy. 3. Constipated.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via French from Latin constipare (to cram together), from com- (together) + stipare (to pack or crowd).

USAGE:
"Mark Wahlberg, for example, is low-key to the point of costive."
Anthony Lane; Nocturnes; New Yorker; Oct 22, 2007.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. -Patrick Henry, revolutionary (1736-1799)

Subscribe:

Sign up to receive A.Word.A.Day in your mailbox every day.

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith