• synonyms

materia medica

[muh-teer-ee-uh med-i-kuh]
  1. (used with a plural verb) the remedial substances employed in medicine.
  2. (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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for materia medica

Historical Examples

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

    Watch Yourself Go By

    Al. G. Field

British Dictionary definitions for materia medica

materia medica

  1. 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
  2. the drugs used in the treatment of disease
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for materia medica


"substances used in medicine," Latin, literally "medical matter."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

materia medica in Medicine

materia medica

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