• synonyms


[nos-truh m]
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  1. a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine.
  2. a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.
  3. a medicine made by the person who recommends it.
  4. a patent medicine.

Origin of nostrum

1595–1605; < Latin nostrum our, ours (neuter singular of noster); referring to the seller's calling the drug “our” drug

mare nostrum

[mah-re nohs-troo m; English mair-ee nos-truh m, mahr-ey]
noun Latin.
  1. our sea, especially the Mediterranean to the ancient Romans.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nostrum

Historical Examples

  • You had no other nostrum for tranquillity but to extinguish life.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II)

    Charles James Lever

  • There were six native clerks occupied with the sale of this nostrum.

  • Yet that is exactly the position of a doctor who recommends a nostrum.

  • What must have been made on the nostrum to allow such expenditure?

  • Still there was no use to attempt calming him with the assurance that his nostrum could not be had.

    Captain Canot

    Brantz Mayer

British Dictionary definitions for nostrum


  1. a patent or quack medicine
  2. a favourite remedy, as for political or social problems

Word Origin

C17: from Latin: our own (make), from noster our

mare nostrum

  1. the Latin name for the Mediterranean

Word Origin

literally: our sea
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

Word Origin and History for nostrum


"quack medicine," c.1600, from Latin nostrum remedium "our remedy," presumably that prepared by the person offering it, from Latin nostrum, neuter of noster "our," from nos "we," from PIE *nos (see us).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nostrum in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A medicine whose effectiveness is unproved and whose ingredients are usually secret; a quack remedy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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