Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A universal remedy; a panacea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A supposed universal remedy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A remedy for all diseases; a panacea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A remedy for all diseases; a universal remedy; a panacea; specifically, a kind of soft purgative electuary so called.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases; once sought by the alchemists

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin, from Greek katholikon, generic description, from neuter of katholikos, universal; see catholic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • There is no catholicon or universal remedy I know, but this, which though nauseous to queasy stomachs, yet to prepared appetites is nectar, and a pleasant potion of im mortality.

    Religio Medici

  • The most gentle purges to begin with, are [4255] senna, cassia, epithyme, myrabolanea, catholicon: if these prevail not, we may proceed to stronger, as the confection of hamech, pil.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • And at a given moment one of these, hitherto dormant and unsuspected, would suddenly begin to brew, and go on growing till he was all one senseless panic, blind flight the only catholicon.

    Ultima Thule

  • There is no _catholicon_ or universal remedy I know, but this, which though nauseous to queasy stomachs, yet to prepared appetites is nectar, and

    Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing

  • Unfortunately, I have no catholicon for every industrial ill -- but the political drug-stores are full of 'em.

    The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast, Volume 12

  • It is now only exceptionally that the cantharus is found doing service as a holy water font, mainly at Mount Athos, where the phiala of the monastery of Laura stands near the catholicon in front of the entrance and is covered by

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability

  • If we knew of any chemical preparation by which we could change the color of our skins and straighten our hair we might hope to bring about the desired consummation at once, but alas, there is no catholicon for this ill, no mystic concoction in all the pharmacies of earth to work this miracle of color.

    Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence The Best Speeches Delivered by the Negro from the days of Slavery to the Present Time

  • If we knew of any chemical preparation by which we could change the color of our skins and straighten the kinks in our hair, we might hope to bring about the desired consummation at once, but alas, there is no catholicon for this ill, no mystic concoction in all the pharmacies of earth to work

    The Negro and the White Man

  • A man who is not a hopelessly bad critic, though he may not have in him the _catholicon_ of critical goodness, may fail to appreciate _La Morte Amoureuse_ because of its dreaminess and supernaturality and all-for-loveness; _Carmen_ because Carmen shocks him; _La Venus d'Ille_ because of its _macabre_ tone; _Les Jeune-France_ because of their _goguenarderie_ or _goguenardise_.

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 To the Close of the 19th Century

  • After long and wearied deliberations extending over whole weeks, and while a nation's anxious eyes, hopeful and expectant, were rivetted upon them, they agreed upon a political catholicon -- one-sided, as usual, and unjust to the South.

    Cause and contrast : an essay on the American crisis,

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • And here I thought this word meant something else....

    March 6, 2008

  • "These coca leaves, which he had first encountered in South America, were his present, purely personal, catholicon, and although he traveled with enough, packed in soft leather bags, to last him twice round the world, he was remarkably abstemious..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 135

    March 6, 2008