[ fiz-ik ]
/ ˈfɪz ɪk /


a medicine that purges; cathartic; laxative.
any medicine; a drug or medicament.
Archaic. the medical art or profession.
Obsolete. natural science.

verb (used with object), phys·icked, phys·ick·ing.

to treat with or act upon as a physic or medicine.
to work upon as a medicine does; relieve or cure.

Nearby words

  1. physeal,
  2. physi-,
  3. physiatrics,
  4. physiatrist,
  5. physiatry,
  6. physic nut,
  7. physical,
  8. physical allergy,
  9. physical anthropology,
  10. physical capital

Origin of physic

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English fisyk(e), phisik(e) (< Old French fisique) < Latin physica natural science (Medieval Latin: medical science) < Greek physikḗ science of nature, noun use of feminine adj.: pertaining to nature (akin to phŷlon tribe, phylon); (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun

Can be confusedphysic physique Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for physic

British Dictionary definitions for physic


/ (ˈfɪzɪk) /


rare a medicine or drug, esp a cathartic or purge
archaic the art or skill of healing
an archaic term for physics (def. 1)

verb -ics, -icking or -icked

(tr) archaic to treat (a patient) with medicine
Derived Formsphysicky, adjective

Word Origin for physic

C13: from Old French fisique, via Latin, from Greek phusikē, from phusis nature

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 physic



c.1300, fysike, "art of healing, medical science," also "natural science" (c.1300), from Old French fisike "natural science, art of healing" (12c.) and directly from Latin physica (fem. singular of physicus) "study of nature," from Greek physike (episteme) "(knowledge) of nature," from fem. of physikos "pertaining to nature," from physis "nature," from phyein "to bring forth, produce, make to grow" (cf. phyton "growth, plant," phyle "tribe, race," phyma "a growth, tumor") from PIE root *bheue- "to be exist, grow" (see be). Spelling with ph- attested from late 14c. (see ph). As a noun, "medicine that acts as a laxative," 1610s. The verb meaning "to dose with medicine" is attested from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for physic


[ fĭzĭk ]


A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic.

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