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[med-i-kuh l] /ˈmɛd ɪ kəl/
of or relating to the science or practice of medicine:
medical history; medical treatment.
curative; medicinal; therapeutic:
medical properties.
pertaining to or requiring treatment by other than surgical means.
pertaining to or giving evidence of the state of one's health:
a medical discharge from the army; a medical examination.
something done or received in regard to the state of one's health, as a medical examination.
Origin of medical
1640-50; < Medieval Latin medicālis, equivalent to Latin medic(us) medical (adj.), physician (noun) (derivative of medērī to heal; see -ic) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
medically, adverb
antimedical, adjective
antimedically, adverb
nonmedical, adjective
nonmedically, adverb
pseudomedical, adjective
pseudomedically, adverb
quasi-medical, adjective
quasi-medically, adverb
unmedical, adjective
unmedically, adverb

medical dictionary

a specialized dictionary covering terms used in the health professions by doctors, nurses, and others involved in allied health care services. A dictionary with authoritative spellings and definitions is a particularly crucial resource in medicine, where a misspelling or misunderstanding can have unfortunate consequences for people under care. Print dictionaries in this field may be sorted alphabetically or may be categorized according to medical specializations or by the various systems in the body, as the immune system and the respiratory system. The online Medical Dictionary on allows alphabetical browsing in the combined electronic versions of more than one authoritative medical reference, insuring access to correct spellings, as well as immediate, direct access to a known search term typed into the search box on the site:
A medical dictionary reveals that large numbers of medical terms are formed from the same Latin and Greek parts combined and recombined. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for medical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Brunton, with eyes flashing with excitement, turned to the medical man.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • I helped him in the office till he got me into the medical school.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • This was a malady which had not been mentioned at the medical college.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • He watched the symptoms with a sort of medical air, as if counting seconds.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
British Dictionary definitions for medical


of or relating to the science of medicine or to the treatment of patients by drugs, etc, as opposed to surgery
a less common word for medicinal
(informal) a medical examination
Derived Forms
medically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin medicālis, from Latin medicus physician, surgeon, from medērī to heal
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 medical

1640s, from French médical, from Late Latin medicalis "of a physician," from Latin medicus "physician, surgeon, medical man" (n.); "healing, madicinal" (adj.), from mederi "to heal, give medical attention to, cure," originally "know the best course for," from an early specialization of the PIE root *med- "to measure, limit, consider, advise, take appropriate measures" (cf. Greek medomai "be mindful of," medein "to rule;" Avestan vi-mad- "physician;" Latin meditari "think or reflect on, consider;" Irish miduir "judge;" Old English metan "to measure out"); also see meditation. The earlier adjective in English in this sense was medicinal. Related: Medically.


1917, short for medical examination.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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medical in Medicine

medical med·i·cal (měd'ĭ-kəl)

  1. Of, relating to, or characterizing the study or practice of medicine.

  2. Requiring treatment by medicine.

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