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malocclusion (mal-uh-KLOO-zhun) noun

Faulty contact between the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed.

[Middle English, from Old French : mal- + occlusus, past participle of Latin occludere, to occlude.]

"The factory makes thousands of custom-made model jaws - many of them specially ordered to contain cavities, malocclusions, missing teeth, gum disease - for use in about 40 of the nation's 54 dental schools." Caryn Eve Murray, Queens Business Spotlight/Building a Model Business, Newsday, 19 May 1996.

This week's theme: words about teeth.


Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard and misapplied words, with little or no meaning, have, by prescription, such a right to be mistaken for deep learning and height of speculation, that it will not be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that they are but the covers of ignorance, and hindrance of true knowledge. -John Locke, English Philosopher (1632-1704) [An Essay Concerning Human Understanding] (1690)

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