Monday, June 12, 2017

You say Sanatorium, I say Sanitarium

I attend a monthly mystery book club at my local public library.  Recently, we read "A Madness So Discreet," by Mindy McGinnis.  It's set at the turn of the 19th/20th century.  The beginning of the book is set in a very miserable insane asylum where the patients are treated very poorly and also mistreated.  The heroine of our book is transferred to a much better and more humane facility from which she does her detective work.  In our discussion, members used the words "sanatorium" and "sanitarium" pretty interchangeably.  That seemed wrong to me so I double-checked when I got home.

When I was growing up, a sanatorium and a sanitarium were two separate types of facilities.  A sanatorium (also spelled sanitorium) was a long-term treatment facility for people with TB.  A sanitarium, on the other hand, was a facility for the treatment of the mentally ill.  Now, apparently not only are the two words interchangeable, but they are considered alternate spellings of one another.

Learn something new every day...

In late April, we saw The Pirates of Penzance.  Quite fun.

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