materia medica

[ muh-teer-ee-uh med-i-kuh ]
/ məˈtɪər i ə ˈmɛd ɪ kə /


(used with a plural verb) the remedial substances employed in medicine.
(used with a singular verb) Also called pharmacognosy. the science dealing with the sources, physical characteristics, uses, and doses of drugs.



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Origin of materia medica

1690–1700; < Medieval Latin: medical material Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for materia medica

  • A copy of materia-medica and a Latin dictionary were the only guides to the beginner of a medical career in those days.

British Dictionary definitions for materia medica

materia medica
/ (məˈtɪərɪə ˈmɛdɪkə) /


the branch of medical science concerned with the study of drugs used in the treatment of disease: includes pharmacology, clinical pharmacology, and the history and physical and chemical properties of drugs
the drugs used in the treatment of disease

Word Origin for materia medica

C17: from Medieval Latin: medical matter
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

Medical definitions for materia medica

materia medica
[ mĕdĭ-kə ]


The branch of medical science that deals with the origin, preparation, dosage, and administration of drugs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.