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any substance or substances used in treating disease or illness; medicament; remedy.
the art or science of restoring or preserving health or due physical condition, as by means of drugs, surgical operations or appliances, or manipulations: often divided into medicine proper, surgery, and obstetrics.
the art or science of treating disease with drugs or curative substances, as distinguished from surgery and obstetrics.
the profession.
(among North American Indians) any object or practice regarded as having magical powers.
to administer medicine to.
give someone a dose / taste of his / her own medicine, to repay or punish a person for an injury by use of the offender’s own methods.
take one’s medicine, to undergo or accept punishment, especially deserved punishment:
He took his medicine like a man.
a specialized dictionary covering terms used in the health professions by doctors, nurses, and others involved in allied health care services. A dictionary with authoritative spellings and definitions is a particularly crucial resource in medicine, where a misspelling or misunderstanding can have unfortunate consequences for people under care. Print dictionaries in this field may be sorted alphabetically or may be categorized according to medical specializations or by the various systems in the body, as the immune system and the respiratory system. The online Medical Dictionary on Dictionary.com allows alphabetical browsing in the combined electronic versions of more than one authoritative medical reference, insuring access to correct spellings, as well as immediate, direct access to a known search term typed into the search box on the site:
A medical dictionary reveals that large numbers of medical terms are formed from the same Latin and Greek parts combined and recombined.
Contemporary Examples

Wilson said she was on the wrong dosage of medicine, and was having severe depressive mood swings.
Mental-Health Breakdown: When Harvard Fails Its Students Eliza Shapiro March 17, 2013

Of course, this law will not solve all the problems in American medicine, and it almost certainly will create some new ones.
Mitt Romney’s Empty Obamacare-Repeal Rhetoric John Avlon June 28, 2012

It was the most out-of-body experience because I was so jacked up on medicine.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill on ‘22 Jump Street,’ Penis Kissing, and Julie Andrews’s Boobs Kevin Fallon June 9, 2014

Due to the lack of fuel, elderly people are dying of cold, stress, malnutrition, and lack of medicine.
The Japanese Government’s Appalling Earthquake Response The Daily Beast March 16, 2011

The bariatric approach was shown effective in two New England Journal of medicine articles earlier this year (here and here).
Why New Diet Drugs, Belviq and Qsymia, Are Just in Time Kent Sepkowitz July 18, 2012

Historical Examples

They tore up shrubs and plants that gave them food and medicine.
Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children Mabel Powers

Beatrice, what have you done with my new bottle of medicine?
Life and Death of Harriett Frean May Sinclair

Does not reason say, “Let us send this medicine where there are sick people who will value it?”
Talks To Farmers Charles Haddon Spurgeon

There was a mistake about the medicine, and she was blamed; that’s all.
K Mary Roberts Rinehart

The schools of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry are in Chicago.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, Slice 3 Various

any drug or remedy for use in treating, preventing, or alleviating the symptoms of disease
the science of preventing, diagnosing, alleviating, or curing disease
any nonsurgical branch of medical science
the practice or profession of medicine: he’s in medicine, related adjectives Aesculapian iatric
something regarded by primitive people as having magical or remedial properties
take one’s medicine, to accept a deserved punishment
a taste of one’s own medicine, a dose of one’s own medicine, an unpleasant experience in retaliation for and by similar methods to an unkind or aggressive act

c.1200, “medical treatment, cure, remedy,” also used figuratively, of spiritual remedies, from Old French medecine (Modern French médicine) “medicine, art of healing, cure, treatment, potion,” from Latin medicina “the healing art, medicine; a remedy,” also used figuratively, perhaps originally ars medicina “the medical art,” from fem. of medicinus (adj.) “of a doctor,” from medicus “a physician” (see medical); though OED finds evidence for this is wanting. Meaning “a medicinal potion or plaster” in English is mid-14c.

To take (one’s) medicine “submit to something disagreeable” is first recorded 1865. North American Indian medicine-man “shaman” is first attested 1801, from American Indian adoption of the word medicine in sense of “magical influence.” The U.S.-Canadian boundary they called Medicine Line (first attested 1910), because it conferred a kind of magic protection: punishment for crimes committed on one side of it could be avoided by crossing over to the other. Medicine show “traveling show meant to attract a crowd so patent medicine can be sold to them” is American English, 1938. Medicine ball “stuffed leather ball used for exercise” is from 1889.

It is called a “medicine ball” and it got that title from Prof. Roberts, now of Springfield, whose fame is widespread, and whose bright and peculiar dictionary of terms for his prescription department in physical culture is taught in every first-class conducted Y.M.C.A. gymnasium in America. Prof. Roberts calls it a “medicine ball” because playful exercise with it invigorates the body, promotes digestion, and restores and preserves one’s health. [“Scientific American Supplement,” March 16, 1889]

medicine med·i·cine (měd’ĭ-sĭn)

The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.

The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.

The practice of medicine.

An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury.


The scientific study or practice of diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases or disorders of the body or mind of a person or animal.

An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury.

Related Terms

god’s medicine, take one’s medicine

dose of one’s own medicine
take one’s medicine


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