plural fomites (FOM-i-teez, FOH-mi-teez)
noun: An object (for example, clothing or bedding) capable of absorbing and transmitting infectious organisms from one person to another.
The word is usually used in its plural form fomites, which has led to the back-formation of a new singular form fomite. Another example of a word coined in a similar way is pea (from pease, which was erroneously believed to be a plural).
From Latin fomes (kindling wood), from fovere (to warm). Earliest documented use: 1658.
“The sitters didn’t catch the virus at all. The cuddlers did, and so did the touchers, pointing up the importance of direct contact with secretions, but especially of fomites — objects and surfaces with infectious viral particles still on them.”
Perri Klass; When to Keep a Child Home?; The New York Times; Feb 9, 2009.
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