Origin of pessary

1350–1400; Middle English pessarie < Late Latin pessārium a suppository, equivalent to Latin pess(um), pess(us) (< Greek pessós oval stone used in a game) + -ārium -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pessary

Historical Examples of pessary

  • Sometimes a pessary which prevents the anteversion is efficient.


    William J. Robinson

  • I recommend the use of the pessary as the most convenient, the cheapest and the safest.

    Family Limitation

    Margaret Sanger

  • The pessary should, of course, never be worn during the menstrual period.

    Safe Marriage

    Ettie A. Rout

  • A doctor's help is needed only when first selecting the right size of pessary.

    Safe Marriage

    Ettie A. Rout

  • If there is inflammation of the womb, this must be subdued before using the pessary.

British Dictionary definitions for pessary


noun plural -ries med
  1. a device for inserting into the vagina, either as a support for the uterus or (diaphragm pessary) to deliver a drug, such as a contraceptive
  2. a medicated vaginal suppository

Word Origin for pessary

C14: from Late Latin pessārium, from Latin pessum, from Greek pessos plug
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 pessary

c.1400, from Late Latin pessarium, from Greek pessarion "medicated tampon of wool or lint," diminutive of pessos "pessary," earlier "oval stone used in games," perhaps of Semitic origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pessary in Medicine


  1. Any of various devices worn in the vagina to support or correct the position of the uterus or rectum.
  2. A contraceptive diaphragm.
  3. A medicated vaginal suppository.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.