Friday, January 29, 2016

Word of the Day

auscultation \aw-skuhl-TEY-shuhn\, noun:
The act of listening to sounds within the body as a method of diagnosis.
Auscultation shows it clearly enough, once I had grown accustomed to his particular bodily sounds. It is a very valuable diagnostic tool, little known in England, I believe. -- Patrick O'Brian, "The Yellow Admiral"
Even as he examined the cousins, he went on talking about the matter in a melancholy, resigned tone of voice, for he was such an expert in auscultation that he could simultaneously listen to a patient's interior, talk about something else, and dictate what he had heard to his assistant. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"
The Latin roots of auscultation have been buried in English. The word auscultāre meant "to hear or to listen" from the root auris which meant "ear." The suffix -ion forms nouns from stems, as in communication and opinion.