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

  • n. A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic.
  • n. Archaic The art or profession of medicine.
  • transitive v. To act on as a cathartic.
  • transitive v. To cure or heal.
  • transitive v. To treat with or as if with medicine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Relating to or concerning existent materials; physical.
  • n. A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic or purgative.
  • n. The art or profession of healing disease; medicine.
  • v. To cure or heal; to treat or administer medicine, especially to purge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The art of healing diseases; the science of medicine; the theory or practice of medicine.
  • n. A specific internal application for the cure or relief of sickness; a remedy for disease; a medicine.
  • n. Specifically, a medicine that purges; a cathartic.
  • n. A physician.
  • transitive v. To treat with physic or medicine; to administer medicine to, esp. a cathartic; to operate on as a cathartic; to purge.
  • transitive v. To work on as a remedy; to heal; to cure.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To treat with physic or medicines; cure; heal; relieve.
  • To use cathartics or purgatives upon; purge.
  • To mix with some oxidizing body in order to eliminate phosphorus and sulphur, as in the manufacture of iron.
  • Physical.
  • Medicinal.
  • n. Natural philosophy; physics. See physics.
  • n. The science of medicine; the medical art or profession; the healing art; medicine.
  • n. A medicine; a drug; a remedy for disease; also, drugs collectively.
  • n. A medicine that purges; a cathartic; a purge.
  • n. In dyeing, the nitromuriate of tin, or tin-spirits.
  • n. Synonyms See surgery.

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

  • n. a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels


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

Middle English phisik, from Old French fisique, medical science, natural science, from Latin, natural science, from Greek phusikē, feminine of phusikos, of nature, from phusis, nature; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots.



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  • Lovely old word.

    December 14, 2007

  • My mom (a retired nurse) occasionally uses this noun to describe a particularly unpleasant person. ;-)

    November 2, 2007

  • Lear: Take physic, pomp; Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel...

    November 2, 2007