Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A food or drug that stimulates evacuation of the bowels.
  • adjective Stimulating evacuation of the bowels.
  • adjective Causing looseness or relaxation, especially of the bowels.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Loose; soft; easy.
  • In medicine, having the power or quality of relieving from constipation by relaxing or opening the intestines. Compare cathartic, 1.
  • noun A medicine that relieves from costiveness by relaxing the intestines; a gentle purgative.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having a tendency to loosen or relax.
  • adjective (Med.) Having the effect of loosening or opening the intestines, and relieving from constipation; -- opposed to astringent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having the effect of moving the bowels, or aiding digestion and preventing constipation.
  • noun Any substance, such as a food or in the form of a medicine which has a laxative effect.

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

  • noun a mild cathartic
  • adjective stimulating evacuation of feces

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French laxatif, from Medieval Latin laxātīvus, preventing constipation, from Late Latin, assuaging, from Latin laxātus, past participle of laxāre, to relax, from laxus, loose; see lax.]

Examples

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