Although it sounds like an unpleasant way to take dictation, this weighty sounding word has a pedestrian meaning.

It is the act of sneezing. The National Institutes of Health says sneezes are triggered when the mucous lining of your nose or throat is irritated.

Things like pollen, dust or pepper can set off a bout of sneezing. Other factors like light can also induce a fit of the sneezes. Called the photic sneeze reflex, sneezing when exposed to bright light is a genetic trait.

Even animals do it. The ask a biologist site has a nice summation of animals that sneeze and why. Basically it’s a way for them to clear out their respiratory tracts.

And because I can, here is the cutest video of a baby panda sneezing:


About janejaelee

Jane Lee is a graduate student in the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program.
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