Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-ahs-kyê-layt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To connect to, to connect with, to open into, as a blood vessel might inosculate with another. 2. To interpenetrate, to join so as to be a part of, to grow or be tightly intertwined, as some areas of philosophy inosculate with mathematics.

Notes: Today's Good Word has been around since the 17th century and has produced a few offspring. The noun is inosculation, and the past participle inosculated behaves more like an adjective than a participle. Given that osculate is the medical term for "to kiss", you might imagine this word having something to do with French kissing but it doesn't. It is also unrelated to injections; that would be inoculate.

In Play: If plumbers had a vocabulary like this, paying their bills would be less a pain: "Ma'am, I'm afraid the water standing in your yard comes from a break at the joint where your water line inosculates with the water main running under the street." Figuratively, this word's meaning comes very close to that of integrate: "Melanie discovered that her hippie dress style made it difficult for her to inosculate with the conservative community of New Monia."

Word History: Today's word is made up of Latin in "in" + osculat-us, the past participle of osculare "to make an opening; to kiss". This verb was created from osculum "little mouth", the diminutive of os, oris "mouth". The root for "mouth" in Latin is or-, but when the nominative singular suffix, -s is added, the R drops out. This produces two roots for the sense of "mouth", or-, which we find in the English borrowings oral and orifice, and os-, which we find in today's word and Latin ostium "door". (Today's Good Word comes to us courtesy of the mysterious Grogie, who easily inosculated with the community of the Alpha Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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