In a word: bruxism

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:


Given the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, and especially the days immediately following the election, it would not be surprising to find that bruxism (pronounced BRUK-siz-im) is on the increase.

Bruxism is the habitual grinding of teeth, often during sleep and in situations of stress. The English comes from the Greek ebryxa, a past tense of brykein, “to gnash the teeth.”

Example: From Jim Holt’s “Zzzzzzzz” in The New Republic, October 7, 1991: “Exotic new sleep disorders have cropped up, from nocturnal myoclonus (twitching of the legs) to severe bruxism (teeth-grinding), which purportedly prevents you from reaching the REM cycle.”

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