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Pronunciation: in-tyu-bayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: Insert a tube in some body part.

Notes: This verb comes with an antonym, extubate, meaning "remove a tube from the body". Don't confuse this word with incubate, which we hear a lot of since the coronavirus has a two-week incubation period. Although usually part of medical register of speech, in recent months (2020) it has entered the general vocabulary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes with the usual panoply of derivations associated with the verbal suffix -ate, though the only one in common usage is the noun, intubation.

In Play: Since the coronavirus attacks the lining of the lungs, it makes breathing difficult, which makes intubation necessary. Doctors usually intubate patients by inserting a tube down the throat of patients by a process called "endotracheal intubation". When a patient sufficiently recovers, they are extubated; the tube is removed.

Word History: Today's Good Word is made up of in- "in(to)" + tube + -ate, a common suffix for Latinate verbs. In- comes from the same source as the English preposition in, PIE en "in". We find traces of this word everywhere in Indo-European languages, such as Greek en "in" and Latin in "in". English and seems to be another derivative of this PIE word. English borrowed tube from French, where it is spelled the same. French inherited the word from Latin tubus "tube". How the word came to be in Latin is a total mystery. The suffix -ate originated in the past participle ending of Latin a-stem verbs, -atus, passed down to all Romance languages. Middle English borrowed its suffix from French as -at, the final E was added later to indicate the A is a long vowel.

Dr. Goodword,

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