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A.Word.A.Day--vomitorium

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: Words that seem risque.

vomitorium (vom-i-TOR-ee-uhm) noun, plural vomitoria

A passageway to the rows of seats in a theater.

[From Latin vomitorium, from vomere (to discharge).]

Vomitoria in ancient amphitheaters helped the audience to reach their seats quickly and then, at the end of the performance, leave at an equal speed (hence the name). Thousands of seats could be filled in minutes. The suggestion that a vomitorium was the place for the ancient Romans to vomit during a feast has no basis.

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"Sarah Walters, 21, a university student, said: 'I love the fact that the exit sign at the station is now tagged as the vomitorium, it's very descriptive.'" Paul Stokes; Metro Passengers Find Their Way to the Vomitorium; Daily Telegraph (London, UK); Mar 13, 2003.

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You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. -Hal Borland, journalist (1900-1978)

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