of·​fi·​ci·​nal | \ ə-ˈfi-sə-nᵊl How to pronounce officinal (audio) , ȯ-, ä-; ˌȯ-fə-ˈsī-nᵊl, ˌä- How to pronounce officinal (audio) \

Definition of officinal

: medicinal a monograph on officinal flora

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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."

Examples of officinal in a Sentence

the discovery of officinal plants that continues to this day

First Known Use of officinal

1769, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for officinal

borrowed from New Latin officīnālis "used as a medicine (of plants)," from officīna "apothecary's shop" (going back to Latin, "workshop," contraction of opificīna, from opific-, opifex "craftsman, artificer" —from opi-, base of opis, *ops "power, ability" and oper-, opus "work, effort" + -fic-, -fex, derivative of facere "to make, do, bring about"— + -īna, suffix of place) + Latin -ālis -al entry 1 — more at opus, do entry 1

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The first known use of officinal was in 1769

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Cite this Entry

“Officinal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for officinal


of·​fi·​ci·​nal | \ ə-ˈfis-ᵊn-əl How to pronounce officinal (audio) , ȯ- How to pronounce officinal (audio) , ä-; ˌȯf-ə-ˈsīn-ᵊl, ˌäf- \

Medical Definition of officinal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : available without special preparation or compounding officinal medicine — compare magistral
2 of a plant : medicinal officinal herbs officinal rhubarb



Medical Definition of officinal (Entry 2 of 2)

: an officinal drug, medicine, or plant

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