styp·​tic ˈstip-tik How to pronounce styptic (audio)
: tending to contract or bind : astringent
especially : tending to check bleeding
styptic noun

Did you know?

People long ago recognized the power of certain substances to bind or contract organic tissue-a quality that has various uses and benefits. English speakers weren't original in this knowledge, and they copied speakers of Greek, Latin, and Anglo-French when they designated this quality as "styptic" in the Middle Ages. (The word in Greek, "styptikos," is from "styphein," which means "to contract.") One thing that a styptic substance can do is stop bleeding, and almost from the start the word styptic has referred to this quality especially. It has also been applied to things that make your mouth contract, or pucker, as well as to substances that might affect your digestive organs with a "binding" effect.

Examples of styptic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While not a serious injury, even just nicking the quick can be a painful and surprisingly bloody mishap — another good reason to have styptic powder (and maybe an old towel) handy. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 4 Aug. 2023 This styptic powder is a quick and affordable way to make trimming your pet's nails at home way easier and less of a mess. Carly Kulzer,, 3 Feb. 2022 For those especially pernicious cuts, however, apply a styptic pencil. Scott Christian, Esquire, 28 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'styptic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English stiptik, from Anglo-French, from Latin stypticus, from Greek styptikos, from styphein to contract

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of styptic was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near styptic

Cite this Entry

“Styptic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
styp·​tic ˈstip-tik How to pronounce styptic (audio)
: tending to check bleeding
the styptic effect of cold
especially : having the property of arresting oozing of blood (as from a shallow surface injury) when applied to a bleeding part
styptic agent


2 of 2 noun
: an agent (as a drug) having a styptic effect

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