Sorry, no definitions found. Check out and contribute to the discussion of this word!


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • In fact long before Fleming’s eureka moment of 1928 regarding the curative powers of bacteria, an ambiguity had been signaled in the word pharmakon in Greek, which translates as both poison and cure.


  • The ambiguity of the word pharmakon reveals two things, the first being the paradoxical nature of punishment as viewed from the Athenian perspective.

    FJ's Blog

  • It is related to the word pharmakon which means both medicine and poison and from which we get "pharmacy" and "pharmaceutical."

    FJ's Blog

  • The word "pharmakon" meant both the disease and its cure to the ancient Greeks.

    Private Equity's

  • Elsewhere in the Book of Life, Ficino associates purple with a safer, diluted form of Saturn's humor that, like the influence of Mars, may be used as a homeopathic pharmakon. 13 To assist in contemplation and judgment, Ficino recommends that these colors be worn as clothing and applied in architectural ornament.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • Mesmer's crisis is in effect a pharmakon, the unleashing of a certain violence and disorder in the psyche — hence the revolutionary pathogens with which his work was associated.

    'The Abyss of the Past': Psychoanalysis in Schelling's Ages of the World (1815)

  • 'Pharmaceutical' comes from the Greek word, 'pharmakon' which means 'remedy and poison' and therein lays the rub.

    Christina Pirello: Why Society Works Better When We're Afraid and Fat

  • In any case, Plato avoids using a specific term: in the Phaedo, he always calls Socrates 'poison simply to pharmakon, the "drug', the "poison" or the "medicine '.

    'The Death of Socrates'

  • Reminds me of one of the most famous auto-antonyms, the Greek pharmakon, made famous by Derrida which means both remedy and poison. ODI ET AMO.

  • But pharmakon, like altus, isn't really an auto-antonym; most remedies are poisons if given in the wrong fashion, and deep/high, as pf says, is just a matter of perspective. ODI ET AMO.


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

  • poison & cure - a paradox recognized by early Greeks

    October 1, 2011