Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

officinal

play
adjective of·fi·ci·nal \ə-ˈfi-sə-nəl, ȯ-, ä-; ˌȯ-fə-ˈsī-nəl, ˌä-\

Definition of officinal

  1. :  medicinal <a monograph on officinal flora>



Examples of officinal in a sentence

  1. <the discovery of officinal plants that continues to this day>



Did You Know?

Officinal is a word applied in medicine to plants and herbs that are used in medicinal preparations. In the 19th century, it was the standard word used by the United States Pharmacopeia to refer to the drugs, chemicals, and medicinal preparations that they recognized, but in 1893 it was replaced by official in this context. Despite this supersession, you still can find a healthy dose of officinal in the pharmaceutical field, where it is used today as a word describing preparations that are regularly kept in stock at pharmacies. Officinal was derived from the Medieval Latin noun officina, a word for the storeroom of a monastery in which provisions and medicines were kept. In Latin, officina means "workshop."

Origin of officinal

Medieval Latin officinalis of a storeroom, from officina storeroom, from Latin, workshop, from opific-, opifex workman, from opus work + facere to do


First Known Use: circa 1720

Rhymes with officinal


Learn More about officinal


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up officinal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

immature or lacking adult sophistication

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt angry oily maudlin
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ