health care

Updated on: 20 May 2018

Definition of health care

: efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals usually hyphenated when used attributively
  • health-care providers

Recent Examples of health care from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'health care.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of health care


in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

HEALTH CARE Defined for English Language Learners

health care

Definition of health care for English Language Learners

  • : the prevention or treatment of illness by doctors, dentists, psychologists, etc.

Medical Dictionary

health care

variants: also healthcare

medical Definition of health care

: the maintaining and restoration of health by the treatment and prevention of disease especially by trained and licensed professionals (as in medicine, dentistry, clinical psychology, and public health)
  • We developed penicillin, heart surgery and transplants, among many other breakthroughs that have transformed health care.
  • —Thomas FishbeinThe Washington Post5 Dec. 2008
  • Medicare payments for home healthcare will also be reduced by $40 billion over 10 years.
  • —Peter GrierThe Christian Science Monitor5 Apr. 2010
  • Pregnant health care workers should wash their hands more frequently than usual and be extra-careful when handling infectious objects.
  • —Maria LaPianaThe Sacramento Bee11 Oct. 1997
often hyphenated when used before another noun
  • Although referred to as a health-care system, the United States actually delivers health care through a vast patchwork of public, for-profit and not-for-profit clinics; small community hospitals; large teaching and research institutions; health maintenance organizations; and thousands of doctors in private practice whose medical services are built around entrepreneurial enterprises.
  • —Delthia RicksMs. MagazineSpring 2009

Learn More about health care

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


good-natured ridicule

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!