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[klin-i-kuh l] /ˈklɪn ɪ kəl/
pertaining to a clinic.
concerned with or based on actual observation and treatment of disease in patients rather than experimentation or theory.
extremely objective and realistic; dispassionately analytic; unemotionally critical:
She regarded him with clinical detachment.
pertaining to or used in a sickroom:
a clinical bandage.
  1. (of a sacrament) administered on a deathbed or sickbed.
  2. (of a convert or conversion) made on a deathbed or sickbed.
Origin of clinical
First recorded in 1770-80; clinic + -al1
Related forms
clinically, adverb
nonclinical, adjective
nonclinically, adverb
overclinical, adjective
overclinically, adverb
semiclinical, adjective
semiclinically, adverb
unclinical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clinical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The clinical features vary with the extent of the infection.

    Manual of Surgery Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • clinical thermometers cracked if they were left lying about on tables.

    In Mesopotamia Martin Swayne
  • He worked like a horse, did Walker—huge consulting practice—hours a day in the clinical wards—constant original investigations.

    The Man from Archangel A. Conan Doyle
  • clinical observation has not yet gained much by these methods.

    Histology of the Blood Paul Ehrlich
  • Glucose is by far the most common, and is the only one of clinical importance.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis James Campbell Todd
British Dictionary definitions for clinical


of or relating to a clinic
of or relating to the bedside of a patient, the course of his disease, or the observation and treatment of patients directly: a clinical lecture, clinical medicine
scientifically detached; strictly objective: a clinical attitude to life
plain, simple, and usually unattractive: clinical furniture
Derived Forms
clinically, adverb
clinicalness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clinical

1780, "pertaining to hospital patients or hospital care," from clinic + -al (2). Meaning "coldly dispassionate" (like a medical report) is recorded from 1928. Related: Clinically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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clinical in Medicine

clinical clin·i·cal (klĭn'ĭ-kəl)

  1. Relating to the bedside treatment of a patient or to the course of the disease.

  2. Relating to the observed symptoms and course of a disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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