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analgesia

Printable Version
Pronunciation: æn-êl-jee-zee-ê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. Conscious insensitivity to pain. 2. Relief from pain, medication that relieves pain.

Notes: You probably have had more contact with the adjective for this word, analgesic, which may be used as a noun meaning "pain-killer". The antonym of analgesia is algesia "sensitivity to pain", though this word is encountered mostly in the medical world.

In Play: "Insensitivity to pain" is the initial sense of today's Good Word: "We have learned the hard way that opioid-induced analgesia is addictive." "Relief from pain" is the other meaning of this word: "Placebo analgesia is a phenomenon in which the mere belief you are receiving analgesic treatment can reduce pain."

Word History: Today's Good Word once belonged to Latin, which borrowed it from Greek analg?sŪa "lack of feeling, insensibility", The Greek word was made up of an- "not, no" + algesis "feeling, sense of pain", itself based on, algeÓn "to feel pain, suffer". This verb was created from algos "pain" of uncertain origin. -Sis is a deverbal noun affix, correlate of -ing in English, -ung in German, and -entia in Latin, which became -ence in French before English borrowed it. -Algia has become a combining form in English. We see it in nostalgia "homesickness, longing for the past", myalgia "muscle pain" solastalgia, and neuralgia "nerve pain". (Our long-standing contributor William Hupy reminded us of today's Good Word months if not years ago.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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