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Nostrum

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Nostrum

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:20 pm

• nostrum •


Pronunciation: nah-strêm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A patent medicine or other questionable remedy prepared by someone who is not a doctor. 2. A pet scheme, someone's favorite remedy, especially one for solving some economic, social, or political problem.

Notes: Here is a word that is becoming rarer as medical science progresses. However, it is still needed for people who are taking nostra (or simply nostrums). I myself am taking cinnamon to help with glucose regulation and turmeric (pronounced [têr-mêr-rik]) for pain regulation on my wife's recommendation.

In Play: The primary sense of today's word is "quack medicine": "Ivan Oder wears a bag of garlic around his neck as a nostrum he thinks wards off evil spirits." (It actually wards off all souls approaching him.) The other meaning of this word is usually used sarcastically: "Siddy Hall is now running for congress on that old nostrum that lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the neuter form of the Latin word for noster "our". The English word resulted from a shortening of the phrase nostrum remedium "our remedy" in the early 17th century. We find noster little disguised in all Romance languages, which descended from Latin. In French it became notre, in Spanish, nuestro, in Portuguese, nosso, and in Italian, nostro. Believe it or not, the Germanic languages still use the remnants of it. English us came from an original word closer to German uns "us", which reverses the order of the N and the vowel (metathesis). We also find this word in many phrases commonly heard in English, such as the name of the French cathedral Notre Dame "Our Lady", and words like paternoster "our father" = the Lord's Prayer. (We now thank Rob Towart for recommending today's Good Word, and wish him a working nostrum for all his pains.)
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Re: Nostrum

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:06 am

For some reason i visited a quack doctor as a child. I was anemic. The quack told me to hang a bag of asafetida, aka stinking gum or Devil's dung, on a string around my neck. I declined the prescription. Do any of you know what asafetida smells like?

The founder of my home community was a former peddler of Dr Simmons' Patent Liver Regulator. He had a horse drawn van with a platform on back and an Indian to dance and play a tom tom to attract a crowd. It made him a wealthy man. I am not sure what it means to regulate one's liver. His undoing was his desire to own a ranch in South Texas. He bought the ranch but was a dismal failure. So he sold it as farms in a lottery.

There were a bunch of nostrums that were just opium in a solution. It went by many different names: Baby Percy, Lydia Pinkham's Ladies medicine, etc. Half the people of the "gay ninety's" were feeling no pain because they were high on opium.

Then there were the two old maid sisters in the TV program, "The Waltons", who were famous for their recipe.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Nostrum

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:58 pm

In LA and elsewhere the poster child for nostrums was and remains Hadacol, supposedly inspired by Happy Days Are Here Again, altho it. Doesn't quite scan. There are still a bunch of nostrums circulated in pyramid schemes under various names.
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Re: Nostrum

Postby misterdoe » Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:05 am

I'm about to have major surgery. Not interested in buying any farm, kicking any bucket, or going to any mountain. :P
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Re: Nostrum

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:33 am

misterdoe: I trust you have or will soon "pull through". My prayers are offered for you.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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