[nos-truh m]
See more synonyms for nostrum on
  1. a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine.
  2. a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.
  3. a medicine made by the person who recommends it.
  4. a patent medicine.

Origin of nostrum

1595–1605; < Latin nostrum our, ours (neuter singular of noster); referring to the seller's calling the drug “our” drug

mare nostrum

[mah-re nohs-troo m; English mair-ee nos-truh m, mahr-ey]
noun Latin.
  1. our sea, especially the Mediterranean to the ancient Romans. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nostrum

Historical Examples of nostrum

British Dictionary definitions for nostrum


  1. a patent or quack medicine
  2. a favourite remedy, as for political or social problems

Word Origin for nostrum

C17: from Latin: our own (make), from noster our

mare nostrum

  1. the Latin name for the Mediterranean

Word Origin for mare nostrum

literally: our sea
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 nostrum

"quack medicine," c.1600, from Latin nostrum remedium "our remedy," presumably that prepared by the person offering it, from Latin nostrum, neuter of noster "our," from nos "we," from PIE *nos (see us).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nostrum in Medicine


  1. A medicine whose effectiveness is unproved and whose ingredients are usually secret; a quack remedy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.