anodyne
adj. or n. anything that relieves distress or pain; soothing to the mind or feelings

The geek in me always thinks of “anodize,” which is the process of electrolytically coating a metal with a decorative oxide. Like the bright blue or red aluminum they use for some fancy computer towers.

But “anodyne” comes from the Greek prefix an– (without) and the root odyne (pain). Interesting enough, it’s been posited that odyne comes from a proto-Indo-European word that means “to eat.” Go figure that one out.

Anodyne is more technical, but less poetic than, words like “balm,” “nepenthe,” or any other fancifully analgesic terms.

§1493 · November 1, 2006 · Tags: ·

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