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Dec 9, 2013
This week's theme
Words coined from body parts

This week's words
inoculate
palpable
cullet
skint
pratfall

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Foot heads arms body. That sounds like a random assortment of body parts, but it's a perfectly meaningful sentence. It was once a headline in The Times in the UK. As it happened, a British politician named Michael Foot was going to be leading a nuclear disarmament group.

Like on the beaches near Vancouver, Canada, body parts have a way of showing up unexpectedly in the language. This week we'll feature five words that were coined from body parts, though it's not obvious until you look into their etymology. The parts we are looking at this week are eye, palm, neck, skin, and the posterior.

inoculate

PRONUNCIATION:
(i-NOK-yuh-layt)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To treat with a vaccine to induce immunity against a disease.
2. To introduce an idea into someone's mind.
3. To safeguard or protect.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin in- (in) + oculus (eye; bud, referring to grafting of a bud into a plant of a different type). Earliest documented use: 1420.

USAGE:
"Michael G. Gartner observed last week: 'You see these young people come and you see them every day and you try to inoculate them with your values and you take great pride when they move up.'"
Felicity Barringer; News Executive Leaving It Behind For a Baseball Life; The New York Times; Sep 6, 1999.

"It's a way to help inoculate her campaign from the program's troubles."
John Frank; Will Hagan's New Tough Talk on Healthcare Work?; News & Observer; Nov 12, 2013.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. -Grace Hopper, computer scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral (1906-1992)

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