Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Natural philosophy; physics. See physics.
  • noun The science of medicine; the medical art or profession; the healing art; medicine.
  • noun A medicine; a drug; a remedy for disease; also, drugs collectively.
  • noun A medicine that purges; a cathartic; a purge.
  • noun In dyeing, the nitromuriate of tin, or tin-spirits.
  • noun Synonyms See surgery.
  • Physical.
  • Medicinal.

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

  • transitive verb To treat with physic or medicine; to administer medicine to, esp. a cathartic; to operate on as a cathartic; to purge.
  • transitive verb To work on as a remedy; to heal; to cure.
  • noun The art of healing diseases; the science of medicine; the theory or practice of medicine.
  • noun A specific internal application for the cure or relief of sickness; a remedy for disease; a medicine.
  • noun Specifically, a medicine that purges; a cathartic.
  • noun rare A physician.
  • noun (Bot.) a small tropical American euphorbiaceous tree (Jatropha Curcas), and its seeds, which are well flavored, but contain a drastic oil which renders them dangerous if eaten in large quantities.

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

  • adjective Relating to or concerning existent materials; physical.
  • noun countable A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic or purgative.
  • noun uncountable The art or profession of healing disease; medicine.
  • verb transitive To cure or heal; to treat or administer medicine, especially to purge.

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

  • noun a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels

Etymologies

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.]

Examples

  • Skill in physic is a useful accomplishment in a minister and may be improved to more extensive usefulness and greater esteem among

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • _Douwa min, ând Sultana Ingleeza_, ( "physic from the English Sultana",) is a sort of royal talisman which helps the medicine down as a bit of sugar taken with a child's draught.

    Travels in the Great Desert of Sahara, in the Years of 1845 and 1846

  • It was not done by any might of their own, any skill they had in physic or surgery, nor any virtue in their word: the power they did it by was wholly derived from Christ.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • A year’s additional training, carrying the bachelor’s degree, was offered to students who, having demonstrated a competent knowledge of Latin, mathematics, natural and experimental philosophy, and having served a sufficient apprenticeship to some reputable practitioner in physic, now completed a prescribed lecture curriculum, with attendance upon the practice of the Pennsylvania Hospital for one year.

    Medical Education in America

  • Shortly I popped into the Chelsea Mansion -- once the temporary home of Courtney Love and a luxury rental at $20,000 a month -- to visit Roxanne Usleman Hulderman, their resident on-call physic to ask, "What awaits fashions future," figuring this was just as effective as watching Ben Bernanke rattle on CNN.

    Alex Geana: Let Fashion Week Begin

  • A year’s additional training, carrying the bachelor’s degree, was offered to students who, having demonstrated a competent knowledge of Latin, mathematics, natural and experimental philosophy, and having served a sufficient apprenticeship to some reputable practitioner in physic, now completed a prescribed lecture curriculum, with attendance upon the practice of the Pennsylvania Hospital for one year.

    Medical Education in America

  • A year’s additional training, carrying the bachelor’s degree, was offered to students who, having demonstrated a competent knowledge of Latin, mathematics, natural and experimental philosophy, and having served a sufficient apprenticeship to some reputable practitioner in physic, now completed a prescribed lecture curriculum, with attendance upon the practice of the Pennsylvania Hospital for one year.

    Medical Education in America

  • The jatropha, also called the physic nut, grows quickly and needs little water or nurturing, reaching maturity after two years, and yielding small black seeds that are covered in light, white husks and which can be picked by hand.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Persons who throughout the whole twelve months are worldly, think it necessary to be godly at a time of straits: all moral and religious matters they regard as physic, which is to be taken, with aversion, when they are unwell: in a clergyman, a moralist, they see nothing but a doctor, whom they cannot soon enough get rid of.

    Chapter VI. Book VII

  • -- A tropical plant cultivated in many warm countries for the sake of its seeds, known as physic nuts.

    Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture

Comments

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

    November 2, 2007

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

    November 2, 2007

  • Lovely old word.

    December 14, 2007