levigate was our Word of the Day on 03/11/2016. Hear the podcast!
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The Origin of levigate
Levigate comes from Latin levigatus, the past participle of the verb levigare ("to make smooth"). Levigare is derived in part from levis, the Latin word for "smooth." Alleviate and levity can also be traced back to a Latin levis, and the levi- root in both words might suggest a close relationship with levigate. This is not the case, however. The Latin levis that gives us alleviate and levity does not mean "smooth," but "light" (in the sense of having little weight). One possible relative of levigate in English is oblivion, which comes from the Latin oblivisci ("to forget"), a word which may be a combination of ob- ("in the way") and the levis that means "smooth."
Medical Definition of levigate
: to grind to a fine smooth powder while in moist condition by first levigating the zinc oxide with a small amount of glycerin a smooth paste is obtained—Art of Compounding
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