noun, often capitalized
la·​e·​trile | \ ˈlā-ə-(ˌ)tril How to pronounce laetrile (audio) , -trəl \

Definition of laetrile

: a drug derived especially from apricot pits that contains amygdalin and has been used in the treatment of cancer although of unproved effectiveness

Examples of laetrile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is not the first time Jason Vale has been accused of selling laetrile, another name for amygdalin. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 23 Oct. 2019 The apricot kernels themselves don't have cyanide in them, but upon digestion the body converts a compound called laetrile into the poison. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, 13 Sep. 2017 And despite the claims of some natural health practitioners, no existing studies have been found that meet scientific standards for proving that laetrile actually helps combat cancer, reports Rae Johnston for Gizmodo Australia. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, 13 Sep. 2017 The drug foreshadowed the debate over later miracle cures, such as laetrile in the 1970s. John Kelly, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2017 Shortly after arriving at the spa, also known as Pacific Health Restoration Center, Hirsh received a regime of laetrile, which contains cyanide and is banned by the Food and Drug Administration. Christine Willmsen, The Seattle Times, 29 May 2017 Among the treatments Messer allegedly prescribed were laetrile and three castor oil enemas per day for three months. Christine Willmsen, The Seattle Times, 29 May 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of laetrile

1953, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for laetrile

laevorotary (levorotary) + nitrile

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The first known use of laetrile was in 1953

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Cite this Entry

“Laetrile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for laetrile


noun, often capitalized
la·​e·​trile | \ ˈlā-ə-(ˌ)tril, -trəl How to pronounce laetrile (audio) \

Medical Definition of laetrile

: a drug that is derived especially from pits of the apricot (Prunus armeniaca of the rose family), that contains amygdalin, and that has been used in the treatment of cancer although of unproved effectiveness


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