Printable Version
Pronunciation: no-sê-ko-mi-êl; nah-sê-ko-mi-êl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Contracted in a hospital (said of diseases). 2. Related to hospitals.

Notes: Today's word is related to an archaic term, nosocome, a French word used by Rabelais and borrowed for a time in English. It comes only with an adverb, nosocomially.

In Play: Today's contributor thought today's word topical in relation to the outbreak of the corona virus in early 2020: "People these days are afraid to see doctors when they are ill for fear of catching a nosocomial disease." This word is usually restricted to medical vocabulary, but I think it's time for it to break out into the general vocabulary: "The morale of the nosocomial staff at the hospital is low since B. D. Aize became president."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Late Latin nosocomium "hospital", to which an English adjective suffix was appended. Latin borrowed nosocomium "infirmary, hospital" from Greek nosokomeion "infirmary", based on nosokomos "someone who attends the sick". This word is composed of the roots of nosos "disease" + komein "to attend to, take care of". Since rhinos was the word for "nose" in Greek and nasus in Latin, both languages could have noso- meaning "disease" unambiguously. The origin of nosos is unknown, but it served as the basis of several English borrowings from Greek, including zoonosis "a disease communicable from animals" and nosology "the study of diseases". (Our gratitude is owed Jan Linders, a friend of champion contributor Rob Towart, for today's useful but seldom used Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!