Emetic

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Dr. Goodword
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Emetic

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:28 pm

• emetic •


Pronunciation: ee-med-ik • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Causing vomiting. 2. (Noun) An agent that causes vomiting.

Notes: Notice the T changes to D in the In the US dialect of English and others this change occurs in all words between vowels.in all words between vowels. The adjective may be extended by the semantically empty suffix -al, emetical, but the suffix is required for the adverb: emetically.

In Play: As an adjective, today's word may be used thus: "I avoid Matilda's cooking. The one time I dined at her house I had emetic episodes all night." It may also be used metaphorically in the sense of "nauseating": "I despise the emetic music inflicted on me in elevators." Emetic may also be used as a noun: "The doctor tried to purge me of my demons by prescribing a host of emetics and laxatives."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from French émétique, inherited from Latin emeticus, which borrowed it from Greek emetikos "causing vomiting". The Greek adjective was made from emesis "vomiting", a noun based on emein "to vomit". Greek inherited this word from Proto-Indo-European weme- "to spit, vomit", source also of Sanskrit vamati "he vomits", Avestan vam- "to spit", Lithuanian vemti "to vomit", and, of course, English vomit. The shift of [w] to [v] is common enough. After all, the name of W is "double U" from back when U was written V. (Thanks today is due an old friend and frequent contributor to the Good Word series, George Kovac of Miami, Florida.)
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Re: Emetic

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:17 pm

I thought everyone would enjoy George Kovac's reaction to the etymology of emetic:

I am fascinated and impressed by your research into the etymology of the word. Who knew it had such provenance?

The whole topic intrigues me in a perversely Proustian manner, he of the delicate madeleines, whose aroma aroused reveries of pleasant childhood memories. Vomiting is such an earthy, vital gross behavior, which has spawned a whole universe of great words: vomit, emetic, nausea. Hifalutin words for a basic bodily function. Not to mention belching related words, like ejecta and eructation.

As a little kid, I misheard the word “vomit.” In the early years of grade school it was a fairly regular event, with its own protocol for evacuation of the classroom (with giggles, complaints and a general breakdown of discipline) and the special product the janitor would apply to soak up the mess and disperse the smell. Woe be the child who embarrassed himself/herself by vomiting in the classroom. I knew the practice by its more common name: “throwing up.” When I first heard a teacher say that someone had “vomited” , I heard “bombed it” which I thought was slang, and imagined the metaphor of throwing up as a ballistic event.

And then there is vomitorium the bizarre metaphor the Romans chose for the egress design of their amphitheaters.

God love The Economist for further enriching my vocabulary on this gross topic—I had never heard of “emetic” till last week.

--George Kovac
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Re: Emetic

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:55 pm

And then there is the emesis basin, one of those platic jobs they stick you with (in the sense of foisting on you willy-nilly) in the hospital.
pl


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