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From Middle English lechecraft (practise of medicine), from Old English lǣċecræft (medicine), equivalent to leech +‎ -craft. More at leech, craft.


leechcraft (usually uncountable, plural leechcrafts)

  1. (historical) The art or practice of healing or medicine.
    • 1861, David Irving; John Aitken Carlyle; David Laing, The history of Scotish poetry:
      The course of his adventures at length conducted him to Scotland, where he followed his leechcraft with similar success.
    • 1904, Joseph Frank Payne, English Medicine in the Anglo-Saxon Times:
      The earliest was Apollo, and his son Aesculapius, and Asclepios; and Asclepios was uncle of Hippocrates ; these four earliest invented the building up of leechcrafts about fifteen hundred years after Noah's flood in the days of Artaxerxes, who was king of the Persians; [...]
    • 2003, David Langford, He Do the Time Police in Different Voices:
      Our villain, who may or may not be 'Dr James', knows his Latin but not - if I may so phrase it - his leechcraft."
    • 2006, Mindy MacLeod; Bernard Mees, Runic Amulets and Magic Objects:
      The use of vapour baths ('stone baths') and the smoke of certain herbs to drive out spirits of disease in animals and humans is well-attested in Germanic folklore and leechcraft, though, and might be compared with the use of steam and steam-baths typical of classical medicine, the Christian ritual of burning away the ashes of embers of sin [...]
    • 2007, Jessica V. Tomaselli, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. English, The coexistence of paganism and Christianity in the Arthurian legends:
      According to Geoffrey and Layamon it is through his “leechcraft” that he is able to make Uther look like Gorlois.
    • 2010, Eoghan Odinsson, Northern Lore: A Field Guide to the Northern Mind-Body-Spirit:
      Herb Lore & Leechcraft
  2. The skill or expertise of a physician, medical knowledge; medical attendance.
    • 1829, Mrs. Gore (Catherine Grace Frances), Hungarian tales:
      Smitten with apprehension, I crawled unto the cell of one of the brethren, renowned for his leechcraft; [...]
    • 1981, Anya Seton, Katherine:
      She had long ago accepted his disapproval, but she had perfect trust in him and his leechcraft as she had had at Hugh's bedside in Bordeaux.
    • 1995, Sigrid Undset, In the Wilderness:
      He proposed that Olav Audunsson should move down to his house and submit himself to his leechcraft.