med·​i·​cine | \ˈme-di-sən, British usually ˈmed-sən\

Definition of medicine 

1a : a substance or preparation used in treating disease cough medicine

b : something that affects well-being he's bad medicine— Zane Grey

2a : the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease She's interested in a career in medicine.

b : the branch of medicine concerned with the nonsurgical treatment of disease

3 : a substance (such as a drug or potion) used to treat something other than disease

4 : an object held in traditional American Indian belief to give control over natural or magical forces also : magical power or a magical rite

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Other Words from medicine

medicine transitive verb

Examples of medicine in a Sentence

He forgot to take his medicine. Did you look in the medicine cabinet for a pain reliever? Their research has led to many important advances in modern medicine. She's interested in a career in medicine.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But Grey's being Grey's, the case of the week is never just about the medicine. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Grey's Anatomy Brought Back a Bunch of Familiar Faces for Last Night's Episode," 2 Nov. 2018 The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a highly purified form as the brand-name epilepsy medicine Epidiolex. Teresa Graedon, The Seattle Times, "CBD oil keeps long-distance runner going," 25 Oct. 2018 Many of the medicines Dr. Goodsir and his colleagues would have dispensed to sick or injured explorers also contained lead, not to mention arsenic and a few other things the FDA would balk at today. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Strands of hair shed light on doomed 19th-century Arctic expedition," 30 Sep. 2018 The medicine must be prescribed by your eye doctor, who will come up with a strict course of treatment that could last several months. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Pennsylvania woman says contact lens caused rare infection that led to 'stabbing' pain, possible blindness," 30 Aug. 2018 With much effort and determination, Moriah found the right medicines and learned to alleviate her symptoms with diet and exercise., "Philadelphia weddings: Moriah Benjoseph and Ben Nassau," 13 July 2018 As such, drug companies have carte blanche to raise prices on their key products year after year, even though the medicines aren’t actually achieving anything new. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "3 Key Lessons From Trump's Drug Price Feud With Pfizer," 11 July 2018 The medicines in question comprise only a small fraction of Pfizer’s total revenue, which reached nearly $13 billion in the first quarter. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Drug Supply Chain Feels the Trump Effect," 11 July 2018 After saying goodnight to Max around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, Andrea laid the medicine out, as usual. Bianca Hillier, NBC News, "Family offers reward for Max Greenfield of Oregon, last seen in March at California casino," 10 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of medicine

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for medicine

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin medicina, from feminine of medicinus of a physician, from medicus

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Statistics for medicine

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medicine

The first known use of medicine was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for medicine



English Language Learners Definition of medicine

: a substance that is used in treating disease or relieving pain and that is usually in the form of a pill or a liquid

: the science that deals with preventing, curing, and treating diseases


med·​i·​cine | \ˈme-də-sən \

Kids Definition of medicine

1 : something (as a pill or liquid) used to prevent, cure, or relieve a disease

2 : a science dealing with the prevention, cure, or relief of disease


med·​i·​cine | \ˈmed-ə-sən, British usually ˈmed-sən\

Medical Definition of medicine 

1 : a substance or preparation used in treating disease

2a : the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease

b : the branch of medicine concerned with the nonsurgical treatment of disease

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More from Merriam-Webster on medicine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for medicine

Spanish Central: Translation of medicine

Nglish: Translation of medicine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of medicine for Arabic Speakers

Comments on medicine

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


noxious or harmful

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