phar·​ming | \ ˈfär-miŋ \

Medical Definition of pharming

1 : the production of pharmaceuticals by genetically engineered plants or animals Part of the reason why pharming has been so slow to take off is technological … . Getting plants to make foreign proteins such as antibodies requires genetic engineering, which is a slow, hit-and-miss process.— Hal Hodson, New Scientist, 2 June 2012 also : the process by which plants or animals are genetically engineered to produce such substances … hoping to capitalize on "pharming"—altering animals genetically so they become drug factories pumping out medicine in milk and urine. — David Wahlberg, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 19 Jan. 2003
2 : the recreational use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs Many students report what they call "pharming": using stimulants for recreation and to work more efficiently (with a reduced need for sleep).— Richard Kadison, The New England Journal of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2005 specifically : the sharing or mixing of such drugs for recreational use especially among teenagers This isn't an ordinary party—it's a pharming party, a get-together arranged while parents are out so the kids can barter for their favorite prescription drugs. — Carolyn Banta, Time, 1 Aug. 2005

Learn More about pharming

Cite this Entry

“Pharming.” The Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

Comments on pharming

What made you want to look up pharming? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!