Saturday, May 9, 2009

nostrum: Dictionary.com Word of the Day

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Word of the Day for Saturday, May 9, 2009

nostrum \NOS-truhm\, noun:

1. A medicine of secret composition and unproven or dubious effectiveness; a quack medicine.
2. A usually questionable remedy or scheme; a cure-all.

James is put to work at country fairs, promoting a quack nostrum for pain relief.
-- Patrick McGrath, "Heart of Ice", New York Times, April 13, 1997
His hopeful message attracted an audience eager to believe he had found the nostrum for all of society's ills.
-- Warren Sloat, "Looking Back at 'Looking Backward': We Have Seen the Future and It Didn't Work", New York Times, January 17, 1988
Old ladies were always offering her their advice, recommending this or that nostrum.
-- Charlotte Brontë, Shirley: A Tale

Nostrum comes from Latin nostrum (remedium), "our (remedy)," from nos, "we."

Dictionary.com Entry and Pronunciation for nostrum


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