from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inanimate object or substance that is capable of transmitting infectious organisms from one individual to another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inanimate object capable of carrying infectious agents (such as bacteria, viruses and parasites), and thus passively enabling their transmission between hosts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any inanimate object (as a towel or money or clothing or dishes or books or toys etc.) that can transmit infectious agents from one person to another


Back-formation from New Latin fōmitēs, pl. of Latin fōmes, tinder, from fovēre, to warm.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Backformation from plural, Latin fomites. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Consider the mysophobe's plight:
    He's trying his best to be polite
    While hiding his fear
    That everything near
    Is a fierce and slavering fomite.

    June 1, 2014