The neighborhood had long been a nidus of crime and vice, but community policing and other interventions have done much to reduce the crime rate in recent years.
"In paintings by Henri Matisse, Henri Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and abstract artist Irving Kriesberg (1919-2009), dancers become the nidus for inspiration and for expression." From an abstract of an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, October 24, 2012
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"Nidus" literally means "nest" in Latin, and some of its relatives in English suggest this connection in a straightforward way. For example, we have "nidification," for the process of building a nest, and "nidicolous," meaning "reared in a nest." But "nidus" itself, when used as an English word, is apt to refer to a place where bacteria lodge and multiply. Consequently, the extended use of "nidus" in English often has a negative connotation, referring to a source of undesirable opinions or behaviors.
Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "nidus": h_t_e_. The answer is
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