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Jun 22, 2012
This week's theme
Back-formations

This week's words
adulate
sere
ablate
esthesia
auscultate

René Laennec, auscultating a patient
A painting illustrating the inventor of the stethoscope, French physician René Laennec, auscultating a patient the good old way: the ear to the skin, while medical students look on. In his hand is his invention.
Art: Théobald Chartran, 1816

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

auscultate

PRONUNCIATION:
(AW-skuhl-tayt)

MEANING:
verb tr. To listen to the sounds made by internal organs (heart, lungs, etc.) to aid in the diagnosis.

ETYMOLOGY:
Back-formation from auscultation, from auscultare (to listen). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ous- (ear) which is also the source of ear, aural, and scout. Earliest documented use: 1862; auscultation is from 1634.

USAGE:
"A Chinese official has been jailed for two years for deserting a sick beggar in a neighboring county and causing the man's death. ... In his defence, Chen said he had asked a general practitioner to auscultate him before the man was sent away. The doctor said his heart beat was normal."
Chinese Official Jailed; Xinhua News Agency (Beijing, China); Dec 6, 2007.

See more usage examples of auscultate in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change. -Harriet Lerner, psychologist (b. 1944)

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