PRONUNCIATION: (FOM-uh-teez, FOH-myts)

MEANING: noun: Any inanimate object, such as a book, money, carpet, etc., that can transmit germs from one person to another.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin fomites, plural of fomes (touchwood, tinder), from fovere (to warm). Earliest documented use: 1803.

NOTES: The word fomites is a plural of fomes, but the s at the end of the word led people to assume it’s a plural and make a singular: fomite (FOH-myt). Some would say that it’s an error, but then there are many more words formed like this: cherry, from the singular cherise, pea from the singular pease, for example. The word is often used as a singular nowadays, similar to other technically plural words such as agenda or errata.
All this should be the least of our worries right now. Don’t be a walking fomites. Wear your mask when away from home.

FORMITES - things that are shaped like ants

UFO MITES - parasites that infest visiting spaceships

FO-LITES - what the enemy uses to see, when it's dark