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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English fysike, from Old French fisike (natural science, art of healing), from Latin physica (study of nature), from Ancient Greek φυσική (phusikḗ), feminine singular of φυσικός (phusikós, natural). Regarding the adjective, compare Latin physicus (physical, natural).


  • IPA(key): /ˈfɪzɪk/
  • Rhymes: -ɪzɪk
  • (file)


physic (comparative more physic, superlative most physic)

  1. Relating to or concerning existent materials; physical.


physic (countable and uncountable, plural physics)

  1. (archaic, countable) A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic or purgative.
  2. (archaic, uncountable) The art or profession of healing disease; medicine.
    • 1743, Stephen Hales, A Description of Ventilators p. xiii.
      ...and thus draw out all the unwholesome Air and Stench, which does more harm than any Physick can repair.
  3. (archaic, uncountable) Natural philosophy; physics.
  4. (obsolete) A physician.

Derived terms[edit]


physic (third-person singular simple present physics, present participle physicking, simple past and past participle physicked)

  1. (transitive) To cure or heal.
    • 1637, Tho[mas] Heywood, “Ivpiter and Io”, in Pleasant Dialogves and Dramma’s, Selected ovt of Lucian, Erasmus, Textor, Ovid, &c. [], London: Printed by R. O[ulton] for R. H[earne], and are to be sold by Thomas Slater [], OCLC 5060642, page 170:
      Wouldſt thou not haue ſome Bulchin from the herd / To phyſicke thee of this venereall itch?
  2. (transitive) To administer medicine to, especially a purgative.
    • 1987, Stephen King, The Tommyknockers:
      When she had been a little girl - a very little girl - her mother had once cried at Anne in utter exasperation, "You're so contrary cheese'd physic ya!"