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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aperient

Time Traveler for aperient

Time Traveler

The first known use of aperient was in 1626

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aperient

Cite this Entry

“Aperient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aperient. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on aperient

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!