January 03, 2012
laryngitis (noun)
\lair-un-JYE-tis\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: inflammation of the larynx
How do you use it?
Our whole family had laryngitis for a couple days after celebrating 2012 by banging pots and pans and screaming "Happy New Year!" to one another.
Are you a word wiz?

"Laryngitis" isn't very old, as far as words go—it's from the early 1800s. Which of the following languages do you think English got "laryngitis" from?

"Laryngitis" is from a special kind of Latin called "New Latin." This isn't the Latin of ancient Rome. Rather, it is the Latin spoken since the end of the medieval period which is used especially in scientific descriptions and classifications. The two parts of "laryngitis" come from New Latin. "Laryng-" means "larynx." Your larynx is the part of your windpipe that has your vocal cords. The second part, "-itis," means "inflammation." When part of your body is inflamed, it's red, swollen, and painful. English has a number of "-itis" words for ailments, among them "tonsillitis" (inflammation of the tonsils), "appendicitis" (inflammation of the appendix), and "conjunctivitis" (inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane covering your eye), also known as "pinkeye."
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