- a medicine sold without a prescription in drugstores or by sales representatives, and usually protected by a trademark.
- a medicine distributed by a company having a patent on its manufacture.
Origin of patent medicine
First recorded in 1760–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for patent medicine
Of course, the patent-medicine venders had long since reached it.Across America
James F. Rusling
The newspaper which refuses to aid the patent-medicine people is marked.The Great American Fraud
Samuel Hopkins Adams
It was just at this time that the patent-medicine man came along.Modern Americans
Of course it has the patent-medicine flavor, too; Detroit, by her "slogan," is a cure-all.Abroad at Home
Don't run away with the idea that conversion is a patent-medicine.Mr. Prohack
E. Arnold Bennett
- a medicine protected by a patent and available without a doctor's prescription
- A nonprescription drug or other medical preparation that is often protected by a trademark.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.