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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Ancient Greek τονικός ‎(tonikós), from τόνος ‎(tónos). 17th century writers believed health to be derived from firmly stretched muscles, thus tonic; the extension of tonic medicine appeared in the late 18th century.


tonic ‎(comparative more tonic, superlative most tonic)

  1. (physics, pathology) Pertaining to tension, especially of muscles.
    • 2009, Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice, Vintage 2010, p. 316:
      Out in front and across the street, Doc noted half a dozen or so young men, not loitering or doing substances but poised and tonic, as if waiting for some standing order to take effect.
  2. Restorative, curative or invigorating.
    The arrival of the new members had a tonic effect on the team.



tonic ‎(plural tonics)

  1. A substance with medicinal properties intended to restore or invigorate.
    We used to brew a tonic from a particular kind of root.
  2. Tonic water.
  3. (US, Northeastern US) Any of various carbonated, non-alcoholic beverages; soda pop.
  4. (figuratively) Someone or something that revitalises or reinvigorates.
    • 2011, Cathy Kelly, She's the One
      'You're a tonic, Dee,' she said. 'And a real friend. Thanks.'
    • 2011 February 5, Paul Fletcher, “Newcastle 4 - 4 Arsenal”, BBC:
      The result is the perfect tonic for Newcastle, coming at the end of a week that saw the departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool on Monday and an injury to Shola Ameobi during Wednesday's defeat at Fulham.

Etymology 2[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:


From tone +‎ -ic.


tonic ‎(not comparable)

  1. (music) Pertaining to the keynote of a composition.
  2. Pertaining to the accent or stress in a word or in speech.
  3. Of or relating to tones or sounds; specifically (phonetics, dated) being or relating to a speech sound made with tone unmixed and undimmed by obstruction, i.e. a vowel or diphthong.


tonic ‎(plural tonics)

  1. (music) The first note of a scale.
  2. (music) The triad built on the tonic note.
  3. (phonetics) A tonic element or letter; a vowel or a diphthong.

Related terms[edit]





tonic m ‎(plural tonics)

  1. drink made up mainly of cinchona

External links[edit]