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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — carminative

Good evening, Netizens...

March 16, 2013

Word of the Day

  • carminative
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kahr-MIN-uh-tive\


: expelling gas from the stomach or intestines so as to relieve flatulence or abdominal pain or distension

Fennel is a carminative herb that helps alleviate gas after a spicy meal.

"Cumin seeds contain numerous phyto-chemicals that are known to have antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties, and are also an excellent source of dietary fibre." — From an article in Facts For You, May 5, 2012


In times gone by, human personalities were believed to be controlled by four humors: blood, phlegm, choler (yellow bile), and melancholy (black vile). Though this belief was long ago discredited, its influence lingers on in the English language. When "carminative" came into use in the 15th-century medical field, carminative agents were thought to be effective because they influenced the humors. The word comes from Latin "carrere," meaning "to card," referring to the act of cleansing or disentangling. This history reflects the theory that certain humors could be "combed out" like knots in wool.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.