• synonyms


noun, plural fom·i·tes [fom-i-teez, foh-mi-] /ˈfɒm ɪˌtiz, ˈfoʊ mɪ-/. Usually fomites. Medicine/Medical.
  1. any agent, as clothing or bedding, that is capable of absorbing and transmitting the infecting organism of a disease.
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Origin of fomes

1650–60; < Latin fōmes kindling wood, tinder, akin to fōvēre to keep warm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fomites

Historical Examples

  • If so, is it likely that clothes or fomites conveyed it in any case?

    A History of Epidemics in Britain, Volume II (of 2)

    Charles Creighton

  • There is also no question that typhus fever may be communicated by fomites.

  • The theory of the spread of yellow fever by fomites was completely demolished.

    Handbook of Medical Entomology

    William Albert Riley

  • The more common means of contagion is by direct contact or by means of fomites.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • This rapid discharge is advised because a ship's heated hold is just the place for the full development of the fomites.

British Dictionary definitions for fomites


noun plural -mites (-mɪtiːz)
  1. med any material, such as bedding or clothing, that may harbour pathogens and therefore convey disease
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Word Origin

C18: from Latin fōmes tinder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

fomites in Medicine


n. pl. fom•i•tes (fŏmĭ-tēz′, fōmĭ-)
  1. Fomite.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.