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

  • adj. Causing evacuation, especially of the bowels; purgative.
  • n. A purgative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. something used to clean out an organ system, especially the bowels.
  • adj. a laxative

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Emptying; evacuative; purgative; cathartic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In medicine, emptying; provoking evacuation or the act of voiding; purgative.
  • n. A medicine which procures evacuations, or promotes the normal secretions and excretions.
  • n. In organ-building, a valve to let out the air from the bellows.

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

  • adj. strongly laxative


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Laypeople perfectly understood the need to expel corrupted matter from their bodies when they fell ill, something that is revealed in the countless number of references to the evacuant therapies in contemporary writings.

    Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico

  • There is not any slavery which these villains will not undergo, inter illos plerique latrinas evacuant, alii culinariam curant, alii stabularios agunt, urinatores et id genus similia exercent, &c. like those people that dwell in the

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • At least one letter writer saw firsthand the perils of an overly aggressive treatment: "they bleed her six times and because of this she was put in great danger," Juan de Briguega writes about his wife, who, at the time, was seven months pregnant. 66 Although most of the evacuant treatments were probably harmless, the potential hazards of subjecting a patient to excessive bleeding or purging were real because dehydration and serious blood loss could be fatal.

    Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico

  • I have been in relation successively with the English and American evacuant and alterative practice, in which calomel and antimony figured so largely that, as you may see in Dr. Jackson's last "Letter," Dr. Holyoke, a good representative of sterling old-fashioned medical art, counted them with opium and Peruvian bark as his chief remedies; with the moderately expectant practice of Louis; the blood-letting "coup sur coup" of Bouillaud; the contra-stimulant method of Rasori and his followers; the anti-irritant system of Broussais, with its leeching and gum-water; I have heard from our own students of the simple opium practice of the renowned German teacher, Oppolzer; and now I find the medical community brought round by the revolving cycle of opinion to that same old plan of treatment which John Brown taught in Edinburgh in the last quarter of the last century, and Miner and Tully fiercely advocated among ourselves in the early years of the present.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • “dribbling,” and by a considerable amount of relaxation of the bowels-a condition that must not be mistaken for diarrhoea, and checked as if a disease, but rather, for the day or two it continues, encouraged as a critical evacuant.

    The Book of Household Management

  • Impedit eadem ratio, quo mi | ius ho - rum ufus in variolis diftindle enarretur; non modo quatenus evacuant, et avettunt alioqui fiitura mala: $ 30.], fed ob alios etiam quibus

    A Complete Collection of the Medical and Philosophical Works of John Fothergill


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