Definition of sternutation
: the act or noise of sneezing
sternutation was our Word of the Day on 09/15/2009. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Sternutation comes from Latin and is a descendant of the verb sternuere, meaning "to sneeze." One of the earliest known English uses occurred in a 16th-century edition of a book on midwifery, in a passage about infants suffering from frequent "sternutation and sneesynge." The term has long been used in serious medical contexts, but also on occasion for humorous effect. In 1850, for example, author Grace Greenwood observed that U.S. senators from opposing political parties would often come together to share snuff: "And all three forget their sectional differences in a delightful concert of sternutation. No business is too grave, no speaker too eloquent, to be 'sneezed at.'"
Origin and Etymology of sternutation
Middle English sternutacion, from Latin sternutation-, sternutatio, from sternutare to sneeze, frequentative of sternuere to sneeze; akin to Greek ptarnysthai to sneeze
First Known Use: 15th century
Medical Definition of sternutation
: the act, fact, or noise of sneezing
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