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Letters to the Journal
January 4, 1964

Verbal Toys in the "Otic"-Reply

JAMA. 1964;187(1):68. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060140074032

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Abstract

Regarding Dr. Ransom's interesting list: Webster describes "-otic" as a suffix "forming adjectives corresponding to nouns ending in -osis... to be distinguished from -ic following stems ending in -ot." I have often thought of collecting unpaired formations in "-osis" and "-otic" in order to determine whether there is a principle or at least a trend according to which the language chooses or does not choose to make use of the potentially available "-osis/-otic" pattern. Now I have the beginning of such a collection.

I confess I too enjoy the not very dignified game of building words like "idiosis" from "idiotic" (by simply not heeding Webster's warning about "-ic" after "-ot"). But my favorite is not "idiosis"; it is "erosis."

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