November 16, 2012
hypnotize (verb)
\HIP-nuh-tyze\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to put (a person) into a trancelike state resembling sleep in which suggestions are readily accepted and acted upon by the person
How do you use it?
After she had been hypnotized, Kyra sang in public for the first time without any hint of stage fright.
Are you a word wiz?

The words "hypnotize," "hypnosis" and "hypnotism" first came into use in the 1800s, from the experiments of English physician James Braid. Braid named the process of inducing this trancelike state after someone or something. Who or what do you think that was?

"Hypnosis" comes from the name of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. In the mid-1800s, Dr. James Braid experimented with the work of Franz Mesmer, a controversial figure who treated patients using hypnosis, though he called it "animal magnetism" and believed it was caused by the magical passage of a fluid in the body. (Mesmer's name is the source of the word "mesmerize.") Braid rejected Mesmer's methods and explanations, and adopted a more scientific approach. He introduced the term "neuro-hypnotism" in 1842, and soon shortened it to "hypnotism," from the name of the god of sleep. "Hypnosis" was coined by others studying Braid's work a few decades later.
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