Word of the Day

: December 7, 2023


noun TINK-cher

What It Means

Tincture refers to a solution made by mixing a medicinal substance in an alcoholic solvent. It can also refer to a slight trace of something, as in “a tincture of doubt.”

// The shelves behind the apothecary counter were lined with dozens of jars and vials containing tinctures of every color of the rainbow.

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tincture in Context

“Lemon balm can be consumed in several ways. People often drink it as a tea or as an ingredient in a tea blend. You can eat the herb fresh—chopped up into a salad, added to a cold beverage, or even as an ingredient in baked goods. You can find it as a supplement in capsule or tablet form or as an herbal tincture.” — Wendy Wisner, Health.com, 4 June 2023

Did You Know?

A droplet of this, a skosh of that. Now you take that home, throw it in a beaker, and add a touch of ethyl alcohol to hold it all together—baby, you’ve got a tincture going. Tincture is a word with a colorful past most often encountered today in reference to a solution consisting of a medicinal substance mixed with alcohol, as in “Carl weathers his cold with a tincture of echinacea.” When the word first appeared in English in the 14th century, tincture referred to a substance used to color, dye, or stain, but by the 17th century the word had acquired several additional meanings, including “a slight infusion or trace of something.” This sense is still in use today, especially figuratively, as when an aspiring actor is said to feel a “tincture of doubt that the acting lessons are worth what he paid.”

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to reveal a word that means “an inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (such as a drug)”: _ l _ c _ b _.



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