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Alternative forms


From Middle English medicin, borrowed from Middle French medicine, from Old French medecine, from Latin medic?na ("the healing art, medicine, a physician's shop, a remedy, medicine"), feminine of medic?nus ("of or belonging to physic or surgery, or to a physician or surgeon"), from medicus ("a physician, surgeon").

The extended sense of "Indigenous magic" is a calque of Ojibwe mashkiki ("medicine") or mide (or cognates in related languages) when used in compounds such as Grand Medicine Society, medicine lodge, medicine dance, medicine bag, medicine wheel, medicine man, Medicine Line, and bad medicine or place names such as Medicine Hat, Medicine Creek, etc.


  • (UK) enPR: 'med-s?n, 'med-sn, IPA(key): /'med(?).s?n/, /'med(?).sn?/
    • (file)
  • (US) enPR: 'med-?-s?n, IPA(key): /'m?.d?.s?n/
    • (Weak-vowel merger) IPA(key): /'m?.d?.s?n/
    • (file)


medicine (countable and uncountable, plural medicines)

  1. A substance which specifically promotes healing when ingested or consumed in some way.
  2. A treatment or cure.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Innovation
      Surely every medicine is an innovation; and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils [...]
  3. The study of the cause, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease or illness.
    She's studying medicine at university because she wants to be a doctor in the future.
  4. The profession of physicians, surgeons and related specialisms; those who practice medicine.
  5. Ritual magic used, as by a medicine man, to promote a desired outcome in healing, hunting, warfare etc.
  6. Among the Native Americans, any object supposed to give control over natural or magical forces, to act as a protective charm, or to cause healing.
    • 1896, F. H. Giddings, The Principles of Sociology:
      The North American Indian boy usually took as his medicine the first animal of which he dreamed during the long and solitary fast that he observed at puberty.
  7. (obsolete) Black magic, superstition.
  8. (obsolete) A philter or love potion.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, II. ii. 18:
      If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged. It could not be else. I have drunk medicines.
  9. (obsolete) A physician.
  10. (slang) Recreational drugs, especially alcoholic drinks.


Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


medicine (third-person singular simple present medicines, present participle medicining, simple past and past participle medicined)

  1. (rare, obsolete) To treat with medicine.
    • 1857, Delia Bacon, The philosophy of the plays of Shakspere unfolded:
      And we shall find, under the head of the medicining of the body, some things on the subject of medicine in general, which could be better said there than here, because of the wrath of professional dignitaries,- the eye of the 'basilisk,' was not perhaps quite so terrible in that quarter then, as it was in some others.

See also




medicine f

  1. plural of medicina


Middle French


From Old French medecine, with the i added back to reflect the original Latin medic?na.


medicine f (plural medicines)

  1. medicine (act of practising medical treatment)


  • French: médecine




  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of medicinar.
  4. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of medicinar.

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