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A.Word.A.Day--vagitus

Pronunciation RealAudio

This week's theme: There is a word for it.

vagitus (vuh-JI-tuhs) noun

The cry of a newborn.

[From Latin vagire (to wail).]

A newborn child's cry is called vagitus. Babies' cries have been heard even before their births. It's rare but vagitus uterinus has been observed on occasions when the membranes rupture, allowing air to enter the uterine cavity.

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)

"[Pnin] unfolded, for he actually seemed to forehear the babe's vagitus, and its first word in the near future." Vladimir Nabokov; Pnin; 1957.

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