Definition of placebo
1a : a usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorderb : an inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (such as a drug)
2 : something tending to soothe
Recent Examples of placebo from the Web
Periodic fecal samples revealed higher than typical levels of B. longum in participants who did not consume the placebo.
Drinking a coffee-honey mixture every eight hours for one week eased coughing — often associated with a sore throat — better than medication or a placebo in a 2013 study in Primary Care Respiratory Journal.
The four non-hormonal placebo tablets were incorrectly placed at the beginning of the sequence, pushing the active tablets back.
Matching DNA makes them ideal for testing hypotheses; one sibling can be the control (taking a placebo, for instance, in a medical experiment), while the other functions as an intervention (receiving trial medication).
The researchers analyzed data from 42 studies, involving 20,284 adults (average age, 54) with hypertension who had been randomly assigned to taking a placebo or blood-pressure-lowering medication in varying combinations and dosages.
Their speed averaged 3.3 percent faster compared to no pill, and 2.2 percent faster compared to the placebo.
Among those women, 79 percent of Xeloda patients were alive after five years, compared with 70 percent of placebo patients.
People taking placebo also reported higher rates of sleep difficulties than patients on statins.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'placebo'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Doctors doing research on new treatments for disease often give one group a placebo while a second group takes the new medication. Since those in the placebo group usually believe they're getting the real thing, their own hopeful attitude may bring about improvement in their condition. Thus, for the real drug to be considered effective, it must produce even better results than the placebo. Placebos have another use as well. A doctor who suspects that a patient's physical symptoms are psychologically produced may prescribe a placebo in the hope that mentally produced symptoms can also be mentally cured.
Origin and Etymology of placebo
Latin, I shall please
First Known Use: 1785See Words from the same year
PLACEBO Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of placebo for English Language Learners
medical : a pill or substance that is given to a patient like a drug but that has no physical effect on the patient
Medical Definition of placebo
1: a usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder
2: an inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (as a drug)
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