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A.Word.A.Day--Typhoid Mary

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Typhoid Mary (TIE-foid MAR-ee) noun

A person from whom something undesirable or deadly spreads to those nearby.

[After Mary Mallon, 1870?-1938. American cook and immune carrier of typhoid fever who while moving from job to job infected more than 50 people with the disease. After health officials found her, she was institutionalized for much of the rest of her life.]

"Alternatively, as former drug czar William Bennett has argued, the moderate drug user is an asymptomatic carrier - a Typhoid Mary - spreading misery to others by setting a bad example, even though he feels fine." Sullum, Jacob, What the doctor orders, Reason, 1 Jan 1996.

This week's theme: eponyms.


Wise sayings often fall on barren ground; but a kind word is never thrown away. -Arthur Helps (1813-1875)

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