prophylactic

adjective
pro·​phy·​lac·​tic | \ˌprō-fə-ˈlak-tik also ˌprä- \

Definition of prophylactic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : guarding from or preventing the spread or occurrence of disease or infection

2 : tending to prevent or ward off : preventive

prophylactic

noun

Definition of prophylactic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something prophylactic especially : a device and especially a condom for preventing venereal infection or conception

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Other Words from prophylactic

Adjective

prophylactically \ˌprō-​fə-​ˈlak-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē also ˌprä-​ \ adverb

Synonyms for prophylactic

Synonyms: Adjective

precautionary, preventative, preventive

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Examples of prophylactic in a Sentence

Adjective

the prophylactic use of antibiotics the many prophylactic measures that city officials could have taken to reduce the scope of the disaster

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The baby’s parents declined treatment with a prophylactic immunoglobulin. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Vaccine-refusing community drove outbreak that cost $395K, sickened babies," 30 July 2018 Workers then determined the vaccination status of those exposed and doled out prophylactic treatments or vaccines to those who would take them. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Vaccine-refusing community drove outbreak that cost $395K, sickened babies," 30 July 2018 And casting the investigation, from the beginning, as a political witch hunt is a prophylactic measure meant to ensure that no matter what the investigation finds, it will not be interpreted as grounds for impeachment or removal. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Paul Ryan is helping Trump undermine the rule of law," 27 July 2018 Johnston thinks the investigators will have some idea whether the prophylactic is working in a year or two. Keridwen Cornelius, Scientific American, "A Shot against Cancer Slated for Testing in Massive Dog Study," 7 June 2018 In addition to negating ovarian cancer risk in women who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, prophylactic ovarian removal can also lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 50%. Dr. Lisa Abaid, latimes.com, "Genetic screening can inform women of their breast and ovarian cancer risks," 5 July 2018 Gay and bisexual men, who are still at extremely high risk of HIV infection in America, are now encouraged to take prophylactic pills once a day that can reduce the chance of infection by 99%. The Economist, "Why STDs are soaring in America," 13 June 2018 Well, maybe because that is our actual interests versus prophylactic. Fox News, "'Dragon energy': Kanye tweets his support of Trump," 26 Apr. 2018 Approximately one in four deaths in this age group were likely prevented with prophylactic use of azithromycin, according to the study. Mark Lieber, CNN, "Common antibiotic significantly reduces child deaths across Africa," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Preventive, or prophylactic, removal of the breasts and ovaries reduces the risk a great deal. Peter Bach, Town & Country, "A Pioneering Force," 11 Sep. 2013 Nary an instance of emergency room visits or poison control queries or pediatricians receiving frantic calls from parents whose teens have prophylactics blocking their airways. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Calm down about the condom challenge, grown-ups," 2 Apr. 2018 This includes marketing and making preventative medication called PrEP (pre exposure prophylactics) more available to high-risk candidates. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "'Test and Treat' approach to HIV epidemic could save lives," 30 Mar. 2018 When implemented as a mandatory smartphone prophylactic, Yondr becomes a means of control, not of choice, let alone of presence. Marcel O’gorman, The Atlantic, "The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone," 2 Feb. 2018 Their default skeptical stance is a prophylactic against the wiles of wishful thinking, a dare to true believers to provide extraordinary evidence in support of extraordinary claims. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "It’s Never Aliens—until It Is," 9 Jan. 2018 The answer, based on conversations with administration officials familiar with the selection process, comes down to tactics and prophylactics. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018 Some antidotes can be administered as prophylactics to troops about to go into battle, if there is a risk of nerve agents being employed. Simon Cotton, Scientific American, "Nerve Agents: What Are They and How Do They Work?," 9 Mar. 2018 Lockers seem to be the smartphone prophylactic of choice for French ministers who must attend meetings sans portable, but for school students, the ensuing nomophobia—the fear of being without your smartphone—might be enough to provoke a revolution. Marcel O’gorman, The Atlantic, "The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone," 2 Feb. 2018

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

Adjective

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1641, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prophylactic

Adjective

Greek prophylaktikos, from prophylassein to be on guard, from pro- before + phylassein to guard, from phylak-, phylax guard

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prophylactic

The first known use of prophylactic was in 1574

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More Definitions for prophylactic

prophylactic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prophylactic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

medical : designed to prevent disease

prophylactic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prophylactic (Entry 2 of 2)

medical : something that is designed to prevent the spread of disease or infection

prophylactic

adjective
pro·​phy·​lac·​tic | \ˌprō-fə-ˈlak-tik also ˌpräf-ə-\

Medical Definition of prophylactic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : guarding from or preventing the spread or occurrence of disease or infection prophylactic therapy

2 : tending to prevent or ward off : preventive

Other Words from prophylactic

prophylactically \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

prophylactic

noun

Medical Definition of prophylactic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (as a medicinal preparation) that is prophylactic especially : a device and especially a condom for preventing venereal infection or conception

prophylactic

adjective
pro·​phy·​lac·​tic | \ˌprō-fə-ˈlak-tik, ˌprä- \

Legal Definition of prophylactic 

: designed or tending to prevent harm or wrong a prophylactic rule against profiting from inside information

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More from Merriam-Webster on prophylactic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prophylactic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prophylactic

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about prophylactic

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