STENOSIS [sti-NOH-sis] : narrowing or blockage of a passageway


Sometimes when I am in a physician’s office the doctor will identify a medical situation, using the Latin or Greek words for it.   If the doctor is in a good mood I respond, “I love it when you talk dirty.”  Most of the time the physician will laugh with me, and then translate the condition […]

CEREBRAL: characterized by the use of the intellect rather than intuition or instinct*


There are many uses for the word cerebral in the realm of medicine and other sciences.   They all have to do with the brain and the various ways in which the brain controls the human body.  Some also deal with disease, such as cerebral palsy, clearly one of the worst diseases to attack the human […]

ANODYNE [AN-uh-dahyn]: soothing to the mind or feelings.


I’m jumping ahead in my list of available topics for blog postings.   I read in the NY Times today about Michelle Obama’s trip to China this week.   The journalist who prepared the article referred to the trip as an “anodyne visit.”   I scratched my head for a minute and then looked it up. Anodyne is […]

ANODYNE: anything that relieves pain


Having just popped two Tylenols for my back pain, this is a timely posting.   I want to take a look today at the word anodyne, a sometime medical term, which has to do with anything that relieves pain. We are a society that rejects pain, and we will do anything we can to avoid it […]

NANOTECHNOLOGY: the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers (that’s tiny)


Now here’s a word which describes a system about which I know nothing. A number of years ago we lived in Albany, New York, and watched a building being constructed on the campus of The University at Albany.  It was a futuristic architecture which resembled a ship, but maybe a space ship more than a […]

GREENLIGHT (the verb): to authorize or give permission to proceed


Today’s word, greenlight, was submitted by my good friend, Bill Thomas. Bill and I studied screenwriting together at Brown University a few years ago.   But, you may know of Bill from his career as a singer/songwriter.  He was responsible for writing much of the music that was featured on Captain Kangaroo,the children’s series that was […]