kept in stock by apothecaries, as a drug.Compare magistral(def 1).
recognized by a pharmacopoeia.


an officinal medicine.

Origin of officinal

1710–20; < Medieval Latin officīnālis of a store or workshop, equivalent to Latin officīn(a) workshop, presumably contraction of opificīna (opific-, stem of opifex artisan, equivalent to opi-, combining form akin to opus work + -fic-, combining form of facere to make, do1 + -īna -ine1; cf. office) + -ālis -al1
Related formsof·fic·i·nal·ly, adverbnon·of·fic·i·nal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for officinal

Historical Examples of officinal

British Dictionary definitions for officinal



(of pharmaceutical products) available without prescription
(of a plant) having pharmacological properties


an officinal preparation or plant
Derived Formsofficinally, adverb

Word Origin for officinal

C17: from Medieval Latin officīnālis, from Latin officīna workshop; see office
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 officinal

"kept in stock by a druggist," c.1720, from French officinal, from Medieval Latin officinalis, literally "of or belonging in an officina," a storeroom (of a monastery) for medicines and necessaries, in classical Latin "workshop, manufactory, laboratory," contraction of *opificina, from opifex (genitive opificis) "worker, workman, maker, doer" (from opus "work;" see opus) + -fex, -ficis "one who does," from facere "do, perform" (see factitious). Related: Officinally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for officinal


[ə-fĭsə-nəl, ŏf′ĭ-sīnəl]


Readily available in pharmacies; not requiring special preparation.
Recognized by a pharmacopoeia.


An official drug.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.