alienist was our Word of the Day on 12/01/2008. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of alienist from the Web
The most expensive show produced by TNT is based on Caleb Carr’s best-selling 1994 historical thriller about a psychiatrist (or alienist, as they were once called) in Gilded Age New York who tries to catch a serial killer.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alienist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What is the Connection Between alienist and Alien?
Alienist looks and sounds like it should mean "someone who studies aliens," and in fact alienist and alien are related - both are ultimately derived from the Latin word alius, meaning "other." In the case of alienist, the etymological trail leads from Latin to French, where the adjective aliene ("insane") gave rise to the noun alieniste, referring to a doctor who treats the insane. Alienist first appeared in print in English in the 19th century. It was preceded by the other alius descendants, alien (14th century) and alienate (used as a verb since the early 16th century). Alienist is much rarer than psychiatrist these days, but at one time it was the preferred term.
Origin and Etymology of alienist
First Known Use: 1864See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
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