a. The science and art of diagnosing and treating disease or injury and maintaining health.
b. The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.
2. The practice of medicine.
3. A substance, especially a drug, used to treat the signs and symptoms of a disease, condition, or injury.
4. Something that serves as a remedy or corrective: medicine for rebuilding the economy; measures that were harsh medicine.
a. Shamanistic practices or beliefs, especially among Native Americans.
b. Something, such as a ritual practice or sacred object, believed to control natural or supernatural powers or serve as a preventive or remedy.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin medicīna, from feminine of medicīnus, of a doctor, from medicus, physician; see MEDICAL.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.