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Definition: The science of bringing up healthy children.

Pronunciation: Pweh-ree-kul-cher

Origin: This science was founded in France in 1866, with the first English references appearing in print in 1887. It was derived from the Latin word ‘puer’, meaning ‘child’ and ‘culture’ – referring to the idea of ‘cultivating’ a child. A much more alarmist translation than the rather benign ‘Child Cultivation’ would be ‘Child Farming’, given that puericulture has the same structure as ‘agriculture’, etc.


Why This Word?

Chrissy and I are engaged in the practice of puericulture – that is, we have kids … Although the word today is almost exclusively used by the medical profession to refer to anything that has been established to assist in the health and well-being of children (Puericulture clinics, for example), it seems that the word still, in essence, refers to the craft of child rearing – or ‘parenting’ as it is also known.

How to use this word:

Puericultureis one of those words that was coined by a profession and never made it into general circulation. It was coined by the medical profession – and there, to this day, it still resides.

I think that its high time parents liberate this word for general use. There is nothing more trepedacious as rearing a child – so parents may as well use the fanciest term for it. After all – they deserve to use it. Have you taken a career break to raise children and are now trying to return to the work place? Are you looking for résumé-friendly terminology to showcase your skill-set? You, my friend, can refer to yourself as a Puericulturist.


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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