Did You Know?
People long ago recognized the power of certain substances to bind or contract organic tissue-a quality that has various uses and benefits. English speakers weren't original in this knowledge, and they copied speakers of Greek, Latin, and Anglo-French when they designated this quality as "styptic" in the Middle Ages. (The word in Greek, "styptikos," is from "styphein," which means "to contract.") One thing that a styptic substance can do is stop bleeding, and almost from the start the word styptic has referred to this quality especially. It has also been applied to things that make your mouth contract, or pucker, as well as to substances that might affect your digestive organs with a "binding" effect.
Origin of styptic
Middle English stiptik, from Anglo-French, from Latin stypticus, from Greek styptikos, from styphein to contract
First Known Use: 14th century
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