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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English medicin, from Middle French medicine, from Old French medecine, from Latin medicīna (the healing art, medicine, a physician's shop, a remedy, medicine), feminine of medicīnus (of or belonging to physic or surgery, or to a physician or surgeon), from medicus (a physician, surgeon).

The extended sense of "Indigenous magic" is a calque of Ojibwe mashkiki (medicine) or mide (or cognates in related languages) when used in compounds such as Grand Medicine Society, medicine lodge, medicine dance, medicine bag, medicine wheel, medicine man, Medicine Line, and bad medicine or place names such as Medicine Hat, Medicine Creek, etc.



medicine (countable and uncountable, plural medicines)

  1. (uncountable, countable) A substance which specifically promotes healing when ingested or consumed in some way; a pharmaceutical drug.
    This medicine has fewer adverse effects than others in its drug class.
    Using a weekly pill organizer is a good way to help remind yourself to take your medicine each day, and it also tells you whether you already took today's pills (it's not unusual to forget doing a habitual task)!
    Synonym: medication
    Hypernym: drug
  2. (broadly, countable) Any treatment or cure.
    A legislative remedy might be some harsh medicine; is that cure worse than the ill?
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Innovation:
      Surely every medicine is an innovation; and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils []
  3. (uncountable) The study of the cause, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease or illness.
    She's studying medicine at university because she wants to be a doctor in the future.
  4. (uncountable) The profession and practice of physicians, including surgeons.
    The history of medicine can be discretized into eras with differing relationships between physicians and surgeons
    Hypernyms: health care, healthcare
    Hyponym: surgery
    1. (mainly historical, uncountable) The profession and practice of nonsurgical physicians as sometimes distinguished from that of surgeons.
      the evolving relationship of medicine to surgery in the nineteenth century
      Coordinate term: surgery
  5. (uncountable) Ritual magic used, as by a medicine man, to promote a desired outcome in healing, hunting, or warfare; traditional medicine.
  6. Among the Native Americans, any object supposed to give control over natural or magical forces, to act as a protective charm, or to cause healing.
    • 1896, F. H. Giddings, The Principles of Sociology:
      The North American Indian boy usually took as his medicine the first animal of which he dreamed during the long and solitary fast that he observed at puberty.
  7. (obsolete) Black magic, superstition.
  8. (obsolete) A philter or love potion.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, II. ii. 18:
      If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged. It could not be else. I have drunk medicines.
  9. (obsolete) A physician.
  10. (slang) Recreational drugs, especially alcoholic drinks.




Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



medicine (third-person singular simple present medicines, present participle medicining, simple past and past participle medicined)

  1. (rare, obsolete) To treat with medicine.
    • 1857, Delia Bacon, The philosophy of the plays of Shakspere unfolded:
      And we shall find, under the head of the medicining of the body, some things on the subject of medicine in general, which could be better said there than here, because of the wrath of professional dignitaries,- the eye of the 'basilisk,' was not perhaps quite so terrible in that quarter then, as it was in some others.

See also[edit]




medicine f

  1. plural of medicina


Middle French[edit]


From Old French medecine, with the i added back to reflect the original Latin medicīna.


medicine f (plural medicines)

  1. medicine (act of practising medical treatment)


  • French: médecine




  1. inflection of medicinar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative