Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-nê-dain Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Capable of relieving pain, as aspirin is an anodyne medicine for headaches. 2. Soothing, relaxing, as anodyne living on vacation.

Notes: Today's adjective may be freely used as a noun referring to any substance that relieves pain, or anything at all that soothes or relaxes, as to take an anodyne before going to bed. Remember the [y] in this word; this word has nothing to do with the suffix -ine, which is sometimes pronounced the same as the end of anodyne.

In Play: Although it is often used to refer to medicinal substances, anything that relieves pain is anodyne: "Mona Lott indulges herself with an anodyne chocolate when the pain of her diet becomes too intense to bear." In fact, anything that soothes and relaxes you is anodyne: "Perry Yare couldn't survive the day without his anodyne Good Word from"

Word History: English took this Good Word from Greek anodunos "free from pain", based on an- "without" + odune "pain". Odune is a suffixed form of PIE *ed- "eat", ed-un-e, under the assumption that pain is something that eats away at you (as in, 'What's eating you?') English eat, German essen, and Russian est' are descendants of the same root. More interestingly, German fressen "to devour, to corrode" comes from an earlier prefixed form, *fra-etan "to eat up", from Old Germanic *fra- "completely" + etan "to eat". The same word in Old English was fretan "to devour", which is fret in today's English.

Dr. Goodword,

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