- defending or protecting from disease or infection, as a drug.
- preventive or protective.
- Medicine/Medical. a prophylactic medicine or measure.
- a preventive.
- a device, usually a rubber sheath, used to prevent conception or venereal infection; condom.
Origin of prophylactic
Examples from the Web for prophylactic
Section 5, by contrast, works as a prophylactic measure, stopping discrimination before it can occur.The Supreme Court’s Ruling and the End of the Civil-Rights Era
June 25, 2013
In some sense, their embrace of self-described black conservatives can be seen as a prophylactic measure.How to Get a White Vote
June 21, 2013
Six months later, at a hospital 600 miles from home, my mom underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy.I’m 25 and I Have the Angie Gene
May 15, 2013
The speech contained a sentence of prophylactic praise for initiative and enterprise, hard work and personal responsibility.Obama's Fighting Speech - Part 2
January 21, 2013
Yet many doctors recommend aspirin as a prophylactic for everyone at risk of heart disease.Giving Medicine a Dose of Free Speech
December 10, 2012
I find that as a prophylactic a little brandy is almost a necessity in this climate.Cabbages and Kings
And he stayed two or three hours; and he used no prophylactic.Woman
William J. Robinson
It is not only an antidote, but one of those antidotes which taken in time is prophylactic.Lux Mundi
Cold infusion of tar was used in our colonies as a prophylactic against the Small Pox.
Certain physicians employed a prophylactic remedy made up of very many substances.Catholic Churchmen in Science
James J. Walsh
- protecting from or preventing disease
- protective or preventive
- a prophylactic drug or device, esp a condom
Word Origin and History for prophylactic
1570s, originally of medicines, "that tends to prevent disease," from Middle French prophylactique (16c.) and directly as a Latinized borrowing of Greek prophylaktikos "precautionary," from prophylassein "keep guard before, ward off, be on one's guard," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + phylassein, Ionic variant of phylattein "to watch over, to guard," but also "cherish, keep, remain in, preserve" (see phylactery).
The noun is first recorded 1640s, "a medicine or treatment to prevent disease;" meaning "condom" is from 1943, replacing earlier preventive (1822), preventative (1901). Condoms originally were used more to thwart contagious disease than to prevent pregnancy.
- A prophylactic agent, device, or measure, such as a vaccine or drug.
- A contraceptive device, especially a condom.
- Acting to defend against or prevent something, especially disease; protective.