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medicine definition


This page has 17 definitions of medicine with English translations in 4 languages. Medicine is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use medicine in a sentence are shown. Also define these 27 related words and terms: healing, ingest, treatment, cure, diagnosis, prognosis, disease, illness, profession, physician, surgeon, practice, magic, medicine man, object, black magic, superstition, philter, recreational drug, alcoholic, drink, medicina, yo, medicinar, usted, él, and ella.

English medicine definition

Alternative forms


From Middle English medicin, borrowed from Middle French medicine, from Old French medecine, from Latin medicīna (the healing art, medicine, a physician's shop, a remedy, medicine), feminine of medicīnus (of or belonging to physic or surgery, or to a physician or surgeon), from medicus (a physician, surgeon).

The extended sense of "Indigenous magic" is a calque of Ojibwe mashkiki (medicine) or mide (or cognates in related languages) when used in compounds such as Grand Medicine Society, medicine lodge, medicine dance, medicine bag, medicine wheel, medicine man, Medicine Line, and bad medicine or place names such as Medicine Hat, Medicine Creek, etc.


  • (UK) enPR: ˈmed-sǐn, ˈmed-sn, IPA(key): /ˈmed(ɪ).sɪn/, /ˈmed(ɪ).sn̩/
  • (US) enPR: ˈmed-ĭ-sĭn, IPA(key): /ˈmɛ.dɪ.sɪn/
    • (Weak-vowel merger) IPA(key): /ˈmɛ.də.sən/
    • (file)


medicine (countable and uncountable, plural medicines)

  1. A substance which specifically promotes healing when ingested or consumed in some way.
    • Ingest definition
      To take a substance (e.g. food) into the body of an organism, especially through the mouth and into the gastrointestinal tract. (1 of 2 ingest definitions)
  2. A treatment or cure.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Innovation
      Surely every medicine is an innovation; and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils []
  3. The study of the cause, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease or illness.
    She's studying medicine at university because she wants to be a doctor in the future.
    • Diagnosis definition
      The identification of the nature and cause of an illness. (1 of 3 diagnosis definitions)
  4. The profession of physicians, surgeons and related specialisms; those who practice medicine.
    • Profession definition
      A declaration of belief, faith or one's opinion, whether genuine or pretended. (1 of 4 profession definitions)
  5. Ritual magic used, as by a medicine man, to promote a desired outcome in healing, hunting, warfare etc.
  6. Among the Native Americans, any object supposed to give control over natural or magical forces, to act as a protective charm, or to cause healing.
    • 1896, F. H. Giddings, The Principles of Sociology:
      The North American Indian boy usually took as his medicine the first animal of which he dreamed during the long and solitary fast that he observed at puberty.
  7. (obsolete) Black magic, superstition.
    • Black Magic definition
      Magic derived from evil forces, as distinct from good or benign forces; or magic performed with the intention of doing harm. (1 of 2 black magic definitions)
  8. (obsolete) A philter or love potion.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, II. ii. 18:
      If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged. It could not be else. I have drunk medicines.
    • Philter definition
      A kind of potion, charm, or drug; especially love potion intended to make the drinker fall in love with the giver.
  9. (obsolete) A physician.
  10. (slang) Recreational drugs, especially alcoholic drinks.


Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


medicine (third-person singular simple present medicines, present participle medicining, simple past and past participle medicined)

  1. (rare, obsolete) To treat with medicine.
    • 1857, Delia Bacon, The philosophy of the plays of Shakspere unfolded:
      And we shall find, under the head of the medicining of the body, some things on the subject of medicine in general, which could be better said there than here, because of the wrath of professional dignitaries,- the eye of the 'basilisk,' was not perhaps quite so terrible in that quarter then, as it was in some others.

See also


Italian medicine definition


medicine f

  1. plural of medicina
    • Medicina definition


Middle French medicine definition


From Old French medecine, with the i added back to reflect the original Latin medicīna.


medicine f (plural medicines)

  1. medicine (act of practising medical treatment)


Spanish medicine definition



  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
    • Medicinar definition
      to medicate
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
    • Él definition
    • Ella definition
  4. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of medicinar.