vulnerary

1 of 2

adjective

vul·​ner·​ary ˈvəl-nə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce vulnerary (audio)
: used for or useful in healing wounds
vulnerary plants

vulnerary

2 of 2

noun

plural vulneraries
: a vulnerary remedy

Did you know?

In Latin, vulnus means "wound." You might think, then, that the English adjective vulnerary would mean "wounding" or "causing a wound"—and, indeed, vulnerary has been used that way, along with two obsolete adjectives, vulnerative and vulnific. But for the lasting and current use of vulnerary, we took our cue from the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder. In his Natural History, he used the Latin adjective vulnerarius to describe a plaster, or dressing, for healing wounds. And that's fine—the suffix -ary merely indicates that there is a connection, which, in this case, is to wounds. (As you may have already suspected, vulnerable is related; it comes from the Latin verb vulnerare, which means "to wound.")

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin vulnerarius, from vulner-, vulnus

First Known Use

Adjective

1599, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1601, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vulnerary was in 1599

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Dictionary Entries Near vulnerary

Cite this Entry

“Vulnerary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vulnerary. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

vulnerary

1 of 2 adjective
vul·​ner·​ary ˈvəl-nə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce vulnerary (audio)
: used for or useful in healing wounds
vulnerary plants

vulnerary

2 of 2 noun
plural vulneraries
: a vulnerary remedy
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