a medicine or agent for relieving constipation.


of, relating to, or constituting a laxative; purgative.
  1. (of the bowels) subject to looseness.
  2. (of a disease) characterized by looseness of the bowels.

Origin of laxative

1350–1400; Middle English laxatif (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin laxātīvus loosening (see laxation, -ive)
Related formslax·a·tive·ly, adverblax·a·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for laxative

cathartic, purgative

Examples from the Web for laxative

Contemporary Examples of laxative

Historical Examples of laxative

British Dictionary definitions for laxative



an agent stimulating evacuation of faeces


stimulating evacuation of faeces

Word Origin for laxative

C14 (originally: relaxing): from Medieval Latin laxātīvus, from Latin laxāre to loosen
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 laxative

late 14c., from Old French laxatif (13c.), from Medieval Latin laxativus "loosening," from Latin laxatus, past participle of laxare "loosen," from laxus "loose, lax" (see lax). The noun meaning "a laxative medicine" is from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

laxative in Medicine




A food or drug that stimulates evacuation of the bowels.


Stimulating evacuation of the bowels.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.