Monday, January 19, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: nosocomial \nah-suh-KOH-mee-ul\

: acquired or occurring in a hospital

"Nosocomial" is a word that usually occurs in formal medical contexts; specifically, in reference to hospital-acquired sickness. We hope you never encounter "nosocomial" as part of your own medical diagnosis, but if you do, you might want to remember that the term descends from "nosocomium," the Late Latin word for "hospital." "Nosocomium" in turn traces to the Greek "nosos," meaning "disease." That root has given English other words as well, including "zoonosis" ("a disease communicable from animals to humans under natural conditions") and "nosology" ("a classification or list of diseases" or "a branch of medical science that deals with classification of diseases").

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