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debridement (di-BREED-ment, day-) noun

Surgical removal of dead, infected tissue or foreign matter from a wound.

[From French debridement, from debrider (to unbridle), from Middle French desbrider (de- + brider).]

"Voluminous clinical studies also indicate that hypnosis can reduce the acute pain experienced by patients undergoing burn-wound debridement, children enduring bone marrow aspirations and women in labor." Michael R Nash, The Truth And the Hype of Hypnosis, Scientific American (New York), Jul 2001.

Here is a pop-quiz: how many light-years does it take for an astronomer to change a light bulb? Answer, of course, is none. She knows a light-year is a unit of distance, not time. The red-herring word `year' in this term tries to mislead us. This week brings together words whose meaning is not the first thing that comes to mind. -Anu


Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe. -Robert Service, writer (1874-1958)

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