Definition of officinal
: medicinal a monograph on officinal flora
officinal was our Word of the Day on 12/07/2008. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of officinal in a Sentence
the discovery of officinal plants that continues to this day
Did You Know?
Officinal is a word applied in medicine to plants and herbs that are used in medicinal preparations. In the 19th century, it was the standard word used by the United States Pharmacopeia to refer to the drugs, chemicals, and medicinal preparations that they recognized, but in 1893 it was replaced by official in this context. Despite this supersession, you still can find a healthy dose of officinal in the pharmaceutical field, where it is used today as a word describing preparations that are regularly kept in stock at pharmacies. Officinal was derived from the Medieval Latin noun officina, a word for the storeroom of a monastery in which provisions and medicines were kept. In Latin, officina means "workshop."
Origin and Etymology of officinal
Medieval Latin officinalis of a storeroom, from officina storeroom, from Latin, workshop, from opific-, opifex workman, from opus work + facere to do
First Known Use: 1769See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of officinal
: an officinal drug, medicine, or plant
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up officinal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).