placebo effect


Definition of placebo effect

: improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used

Examples of placebo effect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Chess students may do better in school because of a placebo effect. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Science Behind Making Your Child Smarter," 24 Dec. 2018 The psychology of myalgias involves the nocebo effect, the flip side of the placebo effect. Richard Klasco, New York Times, "How Many People Can’t Tolerate Statins?," 1 June 2018 While many of the accoutrements of wellness can feel fun to own and use, much of it has been a placebo effect in my experience. Tasnim Ahmed, Allure, "I Bought Into the Commercialized Wellness Industry and It Left Me Broke (and Unwell)," 9 Aug. 2018 This is partly because using a lab is more practical than taking study participants outdoors, but also so participants will not know if they are grounded or not - to avoid a placebo effect. Carrie Dennett,, "Could walking barefoot on grass improve your health? Some science suggests it can.," 11 July 2018 Others, especially those specializing in integrative medicine, say there’s a lot more going on than mere placebo effect — and a new study published in Scientific Reports might go a long way toward explaining how that’s possible. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "Do We Finally Understand How Acupuncture Works?," 30 Mar. 2018 The trial, it should be said, was aided by a powerful placebo effect: Patients who received the placebo had a reduction of some 1.7 migraine days a month. Katy Schneider, The Cut, "Why Did It Take So Long to Figure Out Migraines?," 22 May 2018 The placebo effect can be incredibly powerful, performing nearly as well as carefully designed and tested drugs, substituting for actual surgeries and even generating side effects. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Training plus a placebo may make a drug more effective," 3 Apr. 2018 Muscle soreness and fatigue have the obvious limitation of being subject to placebo effects. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "The Ultimate (Evidence-Based) Guide to Recovery," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'placebo effect.' 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 placebo effect

1902, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for placebo effect

The first known use of placebo effect was in 1902

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placebo effect


Medical Definition of placebo effect

: improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used

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