[ fom-i-teez, foh-mi-. ]

plural noun,singular fo·mes [foh-meez], /ˈfoʊ miz/, fo·mite [foh-mahyt]. /ˈfoʊ maɪt/.
  1. Pathology. surfaces, as clothing or door handles, that can become contaminated with pathogens when touched by the carrier of an infection, and can then transmit the pathogens to those who next touch the surfaces: Doorknobs are often cited as the classic fomites, although there’s nothing unusual about spreading disease via such fomites as toys, towels, elevator buttons, light switches, and remote controls.

Origin of fomites

First recorded in 1800–05; from Latin fōmitēs, plural of fōmes; see fomes Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024