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
People taking placebo also reported higher rates of sleep difficulties than patients on statins.
And while small, the trial on 10 boys was double-blinded and placebo-controlled, so neither parents nor clinicians knew who got the real drug.
That compared with only a slight decline among patients taking a placebo.
According to Stanford's Chang, many parents aren't willing to let anyone experiment on their children, especially because traditional double-blind studies would prevent them from knowing if their kids are taking real drugs or placebos.
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: 1785
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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