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[proh-fuh-lak-sis, prof-uh-] /ˌproʊ fəˈlæk sɪs, ˌprɒf ə-/
  1. the preventing of disease.
  2. the prevention of a specific disease, as by studying the biological behavior, transmission, etc., of its causative agent and applying a series of measures against it.
prophylactic treatment, as the cleaning of the teeth by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Origin of prophylaxis
1835-45; < New Latin < Greek pro- pro-2 + phýlaxis a watching, guarding, equivalent to phylak- (base of phylássein to guard) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prophylaxis
Historical Examples
  • The prophylaxis of yellow-fever is suggested by means of static electricity.

    Makers of Electricity Brother Potamian
  • Only in this way is the prophylaxis of arteriosclerosis possible.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • Undoubtedly the most important phase of it is in prophylaxis.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • prophylaxis of the habit is an ethical question that we can scarcely do justice to here.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • In prophylaxis of the family the first indication is to stop the production of degenerates.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
  • prophylaxis of degeneracy in the individual should commence with the birth of the child.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
  • The prophylaxis of disease is in Alexander's opinion the important part of the physician's duty.

  • Our prophylaxis and diagnosis are important scientific departments of medicine dependent on observation rather than on theory.

  • There is a passage, also, almost more interesting with regard to prophylaxis of rupture of the perineum.

  • Many and diverse views as to its mode of diffusion and infection prevailed, but they furnished no safe ground for prophylaxis.

British Dictionary definitions for prophylaxis


the prevention of disease or control of its possible spread
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 prophylaxis

"preventive treatment of disease," 1746, Modern Latin, from Greek pro (see pro-) + phylaxis "a watching, guarding" (see prophylactic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prophylaxis in Medicine

prophylaxis pro·phy·lax·is (prō'fə-lāk'sĭs, prŏf'ə-)
n. pl. pro·phy·lax·es (-lāk'sēz')
Prevention of or protective treatment for 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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