08 November 2010

My word of the day: nostrum

From Merriam-Webster:
Definition of NOSTRUM
: a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness
: a usually questionable remedy or scheme : panacea
Example from the NY Times:

Dr. Farley [New York City health commissioner] is more forceful in print. His 2005 book, PRESCRIPTION FOR A HEALTHY NATION, which he wrote with Dr. Deborah A. Cohen, senior natural scientist at the Rand Corporation, foreshadowed his hair-shirt approach to public health in New York. In its review, Publishers Weekly characterized the authors as “scolds” and “puritanical,” and predicted that Americans would react to their nostrums the way [daughter] Emily Farley’s students did: apathetically.

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