ape·​ri·​ent | \ ə-ˈpir-ē-ənt How to pronounce aperient (audio) \

Definition of aperient

: gently moving the bowels : laxative

Other Words from aperient

aperient noun

First Known Use of aperient

1626, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aperient

borrowed from Medieval Latin aperient-, aperiens, going back to Latin, present participle of aperīre "to open, free from obstacles," from ap-, variant of ab- ab- + pre-Latin *-wer-je- "open or close (as specified by prefix)," going back to Indo-European *Hu̯er-, whence also, with various ablaut grades, Lithuanian àtveriu, atvérti "to open," Old Church Slavic zavĭrǫ, zavrěti "to close, bar," otvoriti "to open," Sanskrit vṛnoti "(it) covers, surrounds," apāvṛnoti "(s/he) opens, uncovers," apīvṛta- "concealed"

Note: Neither the apparent devoicing of the prefixes in aperīre and operīre before /w/ (cf. āvehere, obvenīre) nor the voicing of ab and ob itself—given that their Indo-European congeners generally lack voicing—admit of easy explanation. The base *Hu̯er- (with a laryngeal deduced from its lengthening of the prefix vowel in Sanskrit) may be identical to *u̯er-, "halt, check, avert" (see weir), if an original sense "cover, shield" developed the sense "halt, check"; there is no formal difference in the verbs in Indo-Iranian.

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Time Traveler for aperient

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The first known use of aperient was in 1626

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Cite this Entry

“Aperient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aperient. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for aperient


ape·​ri·​ent | \ ə-ˈpir-ē-ənt How to pronounce aperient (audio) \

Medical Definition of aperient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: gently causing the bowels to move : laxative



Medical Definition of aperient (Entry 2 of 2)

: an aperient agent


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