Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 16, 2020 is:
palpate • PAL-payt • verb
: to examine by touch especially medically
“Therapy, though, felt different to me. I found performing a concrete task with specific steps, such as palpating an abdomen or starting an IV, less nerve-racking than figuring out how to apply the numerous abstract psychological theories I’d studied over the past several years to the hundreds of possible scenarios that any one therapy patient might present.” — Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, 2019
“A heel spur is a hard and usually painful area in the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches itself to the heel bone. When the area is examined and palpated, there is a feeling of hard bone rather than the soft suppleness of the Achilles tendon.” — Robert Weiss, The Fairfield (Connecticut) Citizen, 29 Jan. 2020
Did you know?
Palpate has been part of the English language since the 19th century. It was probably coined from the preexisting noun form palpation, which itself traces back to the Latin verb palpare, meaning “to stroke or caress.” Other descendants of palpare in English include palpable (an adjective that might describe a tense moment that can be “felt”), palpitate (what the heart does when it beats so hard that it can be felt through the chest), and the verb palp (“to touch or feel”). Even feel itself is a distant cousin of palpitate, as both words can be linked to the same ancient root word that gave Latin palpare.