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From Latin nostrum (ours), nominative neuter of noster (our, ours).



nostrum (plural nostrums or nostra)

  1. A medicine or remedy in conventional use which has not been proven to have any desirable medical effects.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter II, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC, book V:
      Nay, he would sometimes retire hither to take his beer, and it was not without difficulty that he was prevented from forcing Jones to take his beer too: for no quack ever held his nostrum to be a more general panacea than he did this; which, he said, had more virtue in it than was in all the physic in an apothecary's shop.
    • 1833, James Rennie, “The Word Gardening”, in Alphabet of Scientific Gardening for the Use of Beginners, London: William Orr, page 2:
      In precisely the same way does a quack doctor prescribe his infallible nostrum to every patient, without taking into account differences of constitution, or [...]
    • 1890, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, chapter 4, in The Sign of the Four, London: Spencer Blackett:
      I stammered out some few halting words of congratulation and then sat downcast, with my head drooped, deaf to the babble of our new acquaintance. He was clearly a confirmed hypochondriac, and I was dreamily conscious that he was pouring forth interminable trains of symptoms, and imploring information as to the composition and action of innumerable quack nostrums, some of which he bore about in a leather case in his pocket.
    • 2004 August 25, “Find your thrill on blueberry hill”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The latest nutraceutical nostrum could come from the blueberry. Pterostilbene, a compound derived from the fruit, shows promise as a compound to lower cholesterol with few side effects, Agnes Rimando, of the US Department of Agriculture natural products team in Oxford, Mississippi, told the American Chemical Society.
  2. (by extension) An ineffective but favorite remedy for a problem, usually involving political action.
    • 1996, Louis Rossetto, “19th Century Nostrums are not Solutions to 21st Century Problems”, in Mute, volume 1, number 4, →ISSN:
      And not because some clatch of bureaucrats in Strasbourg or Luxembourg have issued yet another directive, but because Europeans are recognising that 19th century nostrums are not solutions to 21st century problems—on the contrary, they are the problem—and it's time to encourage competition, risk taking, democracy and meritocracy, and, dare I say it, dreaming about a different, better future.
    • 2006 November 22, Tania Branigan, quoting Greg Clark, “Cameron told: it's time to ditch Churchill”, in The Guardian[2]:
      In a paper being published today, he writes: "The traditional Conservative vision of welfare as a safety net encompasses another outdated Tory nostrum - that poverty is absolute, not relative. []
    • 2009, A.C. Grayling, Ideas That Matter: A Personal Guide for the 21st Century:
      Neocons have far more interest in foreign policy than domestic policy. As regards the latter the reflex nostrums of right-wing attitudes apply: less tax, less government, libertarianism about matters such as gun control, encouragement of individual responsibility in health care and education, 'faith-based solutions' to social and welfare problems, and so forth.
    • 2011, Sean Corrigan, The Wasteland[3]:
      With the glaring failure to predict even the possibility—much less circumstance—of the recent Crash and with the even more foreseeable failure of its tired old, rehashed nostrums of ending the slump by means of an inequitable programme of corporate welfare, inflationary "unorthodoxy", and the unleashing of the debt-spewing monster of the state to gorge itself upon such things as individuals and private concerns no longer care to consumer, it should hardly be controversial to asset that mainstream macroeconomics—and the reputations of the many panderers to power who practice it—are equally broken.
    • 2022, China Miéville, chapter 4, in A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto, →OCLC:
      This is not least because a permeable membrane exists between the questioning of certain nostrums of the system, and questioning that system in its entirety.

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Etymology 1[edit]

Inflected form of nōs (we).

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. of us; partitive genitive of nōs

Etymology 2[edit]

Inflected form of noster (our, ours).



  1. inflection of noster:
    1. nominative/accusative/vocative neuter singular
    2. accusative masculine singular
  • English: nostrum