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[dih-kok-shuh n]
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  1. the act of decocting.
  2. Pharmacology.
    1. an extract obtained by decocting.
    2. water in which a crude vegetable drug has been boiled and which therefore contains the constituents or principles of the substance soluble in boiling water.
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Origin of decoction

1350–1400; Middle English decoccioun < Old French decoction < Late Latin dēcoctiōn- (stem of dēcoctiō) a boiling down, equivalent to dēcoct(us), past participle of dēcoquere (dē- de- + coc-, for coquere to cook1 + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsde·coc·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for decoction


  1. pharmacol the extraction of the water-soluble substances of a drug or medicinal plants by boiling
  2. the essence or liquor resulting from this
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French, from Late Latin dēcoctiō, from dēcoquere to boil down, from coquere to cook
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 decoction


late 14c., from French décoction (13c.) or directly from Latin decoctionem (nominative decoctio) "a boiling down," noun of action from past participle stem of decoquere "to boil down," from de- "down" (see de-) + coquere "to cook" (see cook (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper