January 12, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(2):145. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520280057010

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Concerning the careless use of certain words, such as "case," "no temperature," etc., letters pro and con recently appeared in The Journal. Another word should be mentioned, and if the new way of using it is to be accepted as correct, then it should be so understood. We refer to the word "operate." This word is both transitive and intransitive. We may operate a mine or a linotype machine, but we do not usually "operate" a patient. The verb "to operate" (operari, to work, and opus, work) has the same meaning as the verb `to work" and is used in the same way. It is a creditable thing "to work" a mine, and once in a while it is paying business; "to work" a linotype machine is not the hardest nor the least paying trade, and is an honorable calling. But "to work" a patient! That, however remunerative, is certainly

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