Stannous: Word of the Day
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Definition: Pertaining to tin, tin-.
Usage: We have all heard of the active ingredient in fluoride toothpaste, stannous fluoride. Microorganisms feed on carbohydrates and sugars in the mouth and produce both plaque and acids that eat away tooth enamel. Stannous fluoride (SnF2) is an antimicrobial chemical that bonds with the enamel to deters the effects of the acid and plaque buildup. "Stannic" is another general adjective referring to tin.
Suggested Usage: We hear the term "stannous fluoride" often enough but do we realize that it refers to a common, household metal? If you want to make fun of a friend's car, calling it a "tin Lizzie" does it better than calling it a "stannous Elizabeth." But somehow eating food from a stannous container sounds more appealing—even more hygienic—that eating food from a tin can. Music abounds in anyone who recognizes the fascinating aspects of today's word.
Etymology: Late Latin stannum "tin," originally an alloy of silver and lead from earlier stagnum, whence the Romance forms, Italian "stagno," Spanish "estaño," Portuguese "estanho," Old French "estain" and Modern French étain"—all meaning "tin." "Stagnum" may be of Celtic origin but its actual origin is unclear.
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