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Aug 9, 2013
This week's theme
Words coined after baddies

This week's words
Ponzi scheme
quisling
burke
Potemkin village
Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary
Mary Mallon (left-most in the picture) quarantined in a hospital
Photo: Wikimedia

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There's a word for it
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Typhoid Mary

PRONUNCIATION:
(TY-foid MAIR-ee)

MEANING:
noun: A person from whom a disease or something undesirable spreads.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Mary Mallon (1869-1938), a cook in New York, who was a healthy carrier (contagious but showing no symptoms) of typhoid. She died of pneumonia. Read/watch more about her on PBS Nova. Earliest documented use: 1909.

USAGE:
"I walked out of the ward wearing the surgical mask and kept it on for forty-eight hours to avoid becoming Typhoid Mary."
Kenneth Schneyer; Life of the Author Plus Seventy; Analog Science Fiction & Fact (New York); Sep 2013.

"Insomnia is a global pandemic whose Typhoid Mary was Thomas Edison, forcing fake sunlight into hours when ancient biology demands shut-eye."
Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep; The Scientist (Midland, Canada); Sep 2012.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher. -Henry van Dyke, poet (1852-1933)

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