May 13, 2006

Rapid Rhetoric: VULNERARY

This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

vulnerary - adj., n. As an adjective the word "vulnerary" refers to a treatment that can heal wounds. The noun version is the wound-healing treatment itself.

"Vulnerary" is derived from the Latin word "vulnus," which means "wound." Most of you by now have figured out that "vulnus" is related to the English word "vulnerable," which has a literal meaning of "woundable."

From the 6 May 1935 edition of Time magazine:
The urine of unborn babies is an excellent vulnerary [emphasis added]. Wounds and ulcers promptly heal under the bland influence of a remarkable chemical, allantoin, which such urine contains. Allantoin also occurs in beets and bruisewort, favorite folk remedies for cuts and ulcers.
Hey - I only report what I read - no one is forcing you to collect infant urine.


elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I don't even want to consider how one attempts to obtain the urine from an unborn baby.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I don't even want to think either, but a very long, slender needle keeps popping into my head. . .