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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 25, 2021 8:55 pm

• nidus •

Pronunciation: nai-dês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (Medicine) The central or focal point of infection. 2. (Biology) The nest in which insects and spiders deposit their eggs. 3. The point of origin of development.

Notes: Here is a word that has escaped the surly bonds of science to enter the world of general vocabulary. It brought an adjective with it, nidulant, now a lexical rarity.

In Play: This word is so relevant today, I'm surprised we don't meet it more often: "The nidus of the COVID (SARS-CoV-2) infection seems to be the lungs." Especially, since it is no longer the prerogative of science: "The new house seemed to be haunted by a ghost whose nidus was the refrigerator."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the Latin word nidus "nest", taken wholesale from that language as English is wont to do from time to time. Nidus gave rise to French nid, Italian and Spanish nido, and Portuguese ninho in the course of things. Latin inherited nidus from a PIE derivation, ni-sed- "to sit down", combining ni- "down" + sed- "to sit". The original word has already reduced itself to nizdos before Latin borrowed it. Armenian nist "seat, place", Welsh nyth "nest", Cornish neyth "nest", and Breton neizh "nest" share the same source. In Russian it ended up as gnezdo "nest", and in English and German as nest and Nest, respectively. In ancient Sanskrit we find nidah "resting place." (Now, for a word of gratitude to Frank Myers, professor at NYU Stony Brook and a member of our happy crew since 2006, for offering up today's Good Word in the Alpha Agora.)
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David Myer
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Re: Nidus

Postby David Myer » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:52 am

I don't want to cause a political furore, but isn't there now some debate (or conspiracy theory) suggesting that the nidus of Covid is a laboratory in Whunan? Or at least a wet market there?

Where is the point of origin of development? In the body somewhere or where the body gets it from? Are they equally niduses?

Wow! How do you spell the plural? Nidi if we are being true to Latin. Niduses if we follow the sinus path. Nidusses if we follow the minus path - allegedly, perhaps.
Last edited by David Myer on Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nidus

Postby damoge » Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:33 am

Both nidi and niduses are accepted.
Everything works out, one way or another

Philip Hudson
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Re: Nidus

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:55 pm

We recently had the task of finding the nidus of strident fungi growing out of the baseboard of our den. It was alarming and amazing. Wall removal revealed a broken drain pipe from the kitchen. At the same time we found the nidus of water cockroaches in the same wall - hundreds of them. It' all shipshape and Bristol fashion now. We can safely wander through the house barefoot at last.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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