Today’s word of the day is fomite, an inanimate object or substance capable of transmitting infectious organisms from one individual to another. It is a back-formation of the New Latin fōmitēs (in English a fomites, the plural of the Latin fōmes (which is an English synonym for fomite in the form fomes), meaning “tinder,” from fovēre, “to warm,” which, ultimately, is the same root as foment. Mark Liberman discussed fomites (and panacea) in 2007 at Language Log.