[as-per-in, -prin]

noun, plural as·pi·rin, as·pi·rins.

Pharmacology. a white, crystalline substance, C9H8O4, derivative of salicylic acid, used as an anti-inflammatory agent and to relieve the pain of headache, rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, etc.; acetylsalicylic acid.
an aspirin tablet: I took two aspirin and went right to bed.

Origin of aspirin

1899; orig. German trademark, equivalent to A(cetyl) acetyl + Spir(säure) salicylic acid (see spiraea) + -in -in2
Can be confusedaspirant aspirin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aspirin

Contemporary Examples of aspirin

Historical Examples of aspirin

  • I ate ten aspirin and waited for the hammering to stop so I could think what to do next.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • Eric took a bottle of aspirin from the drawer of his writing-table.

  • "I think I'll lie down for a minute," she said, and asked for the aspirin.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • He knows the aspirin will not cure the arthritis, but he wants to alleviate the symptom.

  • I swallowed all my stock of aspirin and quinine but without relief.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

British Dictionary definitions for aspirin


noun plural -rin or -rins

a white crystalline compound widely used in the form of tablets to relieve pain and fever, to reduce inflammation, and to prevent strokes. Formula: CH 3 COOC 6 H 4 COOHChemical name: acetylsalicylic acid
a tablet of aspirin

Word Origin for aspirin

C19: from German, from A (cetyl) + Spir (säure) spiraeic acid (modern salicylic acid) + -in; see also spiraea
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 aspirin

coined 1899 by German chemist Heinrich Dreser (1860-1924) in German as a trademark name, from Latin Spiraea (ulmaria) "meadow-sweet," the plant in whose flowers or leaves the processed acid in the medicine is found naturally, + common chemical ending -in (see -ine (2)). The initial -a- is to acknowledge acetylation; Dreser said the word was a contraction of acetylierte spirsäure, the German name of the acid, which now is obsolete, replaced by salicylic acid.

Die Bezeichnung Aspirin ist abgeleitet aus "Spirsäure" -- alter Name der Salicylsäure und A = Acetyl; statt" Acetylirte Spirsäure, kurzweg "Aspirin". [H, Dreser, "Pharmakologisches über Aspirin (Acetylsalicylsäure)," in "Archiv für die Gesammte Physiologie des Menschen und der Thiere," 1899, p.307]

Commercial names for medicinal products began in Germany in the late 19th century, when nascent pharmaceutical firms were discovering medical uses for common, easily made chemicals. To discourage competitors they'd market the substance under a short trademarked name a doctor could remember, rather than the long chemical compound word. German law required prescriptions to be filled exactly as written.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aspirin in Medicine


[ăspər-ĭn, -prĭn]


A white, crystalline compound derived from salicylic acid and commonly used to relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation. It is also used as an antiplatelet agent.acetylsalicylic acid
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

aspirin in Science


[ăspər-ĭn, ăsprĭn]

A white crystalline compound derived from salicylic acid and used in medicine to relieve fever and pain and as an anticoagulant. Also called acetylsalicylic acid. Chemical formula: C9H8O4.
A Closer Look: Ninety percent of the population experiences at least one headache each year. The most common type is a tension headache, which is caused by stress and is characterized by tightening of the muscles in the base of the neck and along the scalp. Aspirin alleviates headaches by blocking the body's production of prostaglandins, hormones that contribute to pain by stimulating muscle contraction and blood vessel dilation. For thousands of years, people chewed the bark of willow trees to control headache and other pain. The study of the properties of this medicinal plant led German chemist Hermann Kolbe to synthesize acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), a building block of aspirin, in 1859. A pure form of ASA wasn't prepared until 1897, by Felix Hoffman, a chemist in the Bayer chemical factory in Germany. After publication of successful clinical trials, aspirin was distributed in powder form in 1899 and as a tablet in 1900. Aspirin possesses a number of properties that make it one of the most recommended drugs. Besides being an analgesic, or pain reliever, it also reduces inflammation that often accompanies injuries or diseases, such as arthritis. It is also an antipyretic compound, or fever reducer. Aspirin is the only over-the-counter analgesic approved for prevention of cardiovascular disease. New research suggests that aspirin may also decrease the risk of some forms of stroke. Additional studies indicate that aspirin may play a role in reducing the risks of ovarian cancer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.