A.W.A.D. - Words Pertaining to Medicine

Where I lived out east, there was a medical facility called Doctors' Hospital. I have to say it was reassuring. I wouldn't want engineers treating me if I broke an arm. On the other hand, maybe I just misunderstood the name. Perhaps it was an exclusive place meant only for doctors. Well, that would be a mutual healing society, but who am I to judge? It's the era of super-specialization. For all I know, there might even be a Lawyers' Law Firm, representing only those in the legal profession (motto: We know you better).

I have since discovered that besides the one mentioned at the beginning, there are similarly named hospitals all over the place, with various placements or omission of the apostrophe, such as Doctor's Hospital and Doctors Hospital. Whatever their names, we thank them for not letting plumbers perform colonoscopies.

This week we'll look at five terms connected with medicine, most of which are now used metaphorically.
costive
PRONUNCIATION: (KOS-tiv)
MEANING: adjective:
1. Slow to act or speak
2. Stingy
3. Constipated

ETYMOLOGY: Via French from Latin constipare (to cram together), from com- (together) + stipare (to pack or crowd).

roborant
PRONUNCIATION: (ROB-uhr-uhnt)
MEANING: adjective
Strengthening

noun
A tonic

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin roborare (to strengthen), from robor- (oak, hardness). Ultimately from the Indo-European root reudh- (red) that also gave us red, rouge, ruby, ruddy, rubella, robust, corroborate, and rambunctious.

catholicon
PRONUNCIATION: (kuh-THOL-i-kuhn)
MEANING: noun: A panacea or cure-all

ETYMOLOGY: Via Latin from Greek katholikos (general), from kata (according to, by) + holou (whole). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sol- (whole) that gave us words such as solid, salute, save, salvo, and soldier.

atrabilious
PRONUNCIATION: (at-ruh-BIL-yuhs)
MEANING: adjective
1. Gloomy
2. Ill-tempered

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin atra bilis (black bile), translation of Greek melankholia

linctus
PRONUNCIATION: (LINGK-tuhs)
MEANING: A syrupy liquid medicine, especially for treating coughs

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin lingere (to lick). Ultimately from the Indo-European root leigh- (lick) that is also the source of lichen (apparently from the way it licks its way around a surface), and lecher, but not lingerie (which is from the root lino: flax).

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