Printable Version
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 pronunciation of this word. In the US dialect of English and others this change occurs in all words between vowels. The adjective may be extended by the semantically empty suffix -al, emetical, but this 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 the 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.)

Dr. Goodword,

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