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From New Latin therapīa, from Ancient Greek θεραπεία (therapeía, service, medical treatment), from θεραπεύω (therapeúō, I serve, treat medically) +‎ -ία (-ía, suffix for forming abstract nouns).


  • enPR: thĕrʹə-pē, IPA(key): /ˈθɛɹ.ə.pi/
  • (file)


therapy (countable and uncountable, plural therapies)

  1. Attempted remediation of a health problem following a diagnosis, usually synonymous with treatment.
    inclined bed therapy
    • 1851, “Omnium gatherum”, in American Magazine: Devoted to Homoeopathy and Hydropathy[1], volume 1, page 222:
      It will be seen that we are introducing to our readers the subject of Kinesitherapy, in common with other therapies, and it is very proper that we should do so.
    • 1885 November, James Nevins, “On the relations of lupus vulgaris to tuberculosis”, in Journal of Cutaneous and Venereal Diseases[2], volume 3, number 11:
      [] second, its formidable features prompt the average physician at an early period to consult the dermatologist respecting its nature and therapy []
    • 1926, Otto Carqué, The Key to Rational Dietetics[3], page 7:
      Lahmann's unprecedented success proved beyond doubt the correctness of his teachings and the fallacy of the germ theory of disease, vaccinations and serum therapy.
    1. Specifically, psychotherapy.
      • 1948, Harold B. Pepinsky, Diagnostic Categories in Clinical Counseling, page 3:
        As a methodology, it provides a useful framework for evaluating the outcomes of therapy.
      • 2015, Alan Meaden, Innovations in Psychosocial Interventions for Psychosis[4]:
        The existential approach to therapy is philosophical, involving exploration of what it means to be alive.
      • 2015, David Capuzzi, Foundations of Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling[5], page 152:
        Because it is often confused with psychoanalysis, psychodynamics has at times been considered an outdated and outmoded approach to therapy.
  2. (Can we add an example for this sense?) Healing power or quality.


Related terms[edit]




therapy (third-person singular simple present therapies, present participle therapying, simple past and past participle therapied)

  1. (transitive, rare) To treat with a therapy.
    • 1998, Ursula Rüther, Paraneoplastic syndromes, page 5:
      As is the case for therapying ectopic ACTH production, very high serum cortisol levels necessitate adrenolytic therapy with o,p'DDD (mitotane), metopirone, or aminogluthetimide.
    • 2012, Cells—Advances in Research and Application: 2012 Edition[6], page 579:
      There was no cytogenetic damage to the therapied or non-therapied regions in the buccal mucosa cells, as determined cytomorphologically.
    • 2014, Greg Bear, Queen of Angels[7]:
      I was therapying her for some gene-based subroutine screwups that prevented easeful sexuality.
  2. (intransitive, rare) To undergo a therapy.
    • 1992, Talking Book Topics, page 35:
      Therapy has almost eliminated violence, and people are divided into groups — the "therapied" and the "un-therapied."
    • 2002, Brynjulf Stige, Culture-centered music therapy, page 101:
      After a few years of talking about musicking, healthing, therapying, and so forth, most of us will have enough, I assume, and will not necessarily be in a new place.
    • 2011, Richard Grayson, West Side Summers[8], page 5:
      In the mail were: $9 in orders for Eating at Arby's; a delightful New Wave story by Susan Mernit, who's finishing one novel and working on the next, all while adjuncting, therapying, and getting ready to divorce Spencer (though she doesn't know that yet); The Village Voice; a BC Alumni Association Board of Directors notice; and a xerox of a review of George's Modern Times.


Further reading[edit]

  • 1849, Joseph Emerson Worcester, A universal and critical dictionary of the English language[9], page 735:
    Thěr'ạ-py,* N. [θεραπεία.] Therapeutics. Month. Rev. [R.]