[med-uh-sin or, esp. British, med-suhn]
See more synonyms for medicine on
  1. any substance or substances used in treating disease or illness; medicament; remedy.
  2. the art or science of restoring or preserving health or due physical condition, as by means of drugs, surgical operations or appliances, or manipulations: often divided into medicine proper, surgery, and obstetrics.
  3. the art or science of treating disease with drugs or curative substances, as distinguished from surgery and obstetrics.
  4. the medical profession.
  5. (among North American Indians) any object or practice regarded as having magical powers.
verb (used with object), med·i·cined, med·i·cin·ing.
  1. to administer medicine to.
  1. give someone a dose/taste of his/her own medicine, to repay or punish a person for an injury by use of the offender's own methods.
  2. take one's medicine, to undergo or accept punishment, especially deserved punishment: He took his medicine like a man.

Origin of medicine

1175–1225; Middle English medicin < Latin medicīna (ars) healing (art), feminine of medicīnus pertaining to a physician. See medical, -ine1
Related formsan·ti·med·i·cine, adjectivesu·per·med·i·cine, noun

Synonyms for medicine

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for take one's medicine


  1. any drug or remedy for use in treating, preventing, or alleviating the symptoms of disease
  2. the science of preventing, diagnosing, alleviating, or curing disease
  3. any nonsurgical branch of medical science
  4. the practice or profession of medicinehe's in medicine Related adjectives: Aesculapian, iatric
  5. something regarded by primitive people as having magical or remedial properties
  6. take one's medicine to accept a deserved punishment
  7. a taste of one's own medicine or a dose of one's own medicine an unpleasant experience in retaliation for and by similar methods to an unkind or aggressive act

Word Origin for medicine

C13: via Old French from Latin medicīna (ars) (art of) healing, from medicus doctor, from medērī to heal
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 take one's medicine



c.1200, "medical treatment, cure, remedy," also used figuratively, of spiritual remedies, from Old French medecine (Modern French médicine) "medicine, art of healing, cure, treatment, potion," from Latin medicina "the healing art, medicine; a remedy," also used figuratively, perhaps originally ars medicina "the medical art," from fem. of medicinus (adj.) "of a doctor," from medicus "a physician" (see medical); though OED finds evidence for this is wanting. Meaning "a medicinal potion or plaster" in English is mid-14c.

To take (one's) medicine "submit to something disagreeable" is first recorded 1865. North American Indian medicine-man "shaman" is first attested 1801, from American Indian adoption of the word medicine in sense of "magical influence." The U.S.-Canadian boundary they called Medicine Line (first attested 1910), because it conferred a kind of magic protection: punishment for crimes committed on one side of it could be avoided by crossing over to the other. Medicine show "traveling show meant to attract a crowd so patent medicine can be sold to them" is American English, 1938. Medicine ball "stuffed leather ball used for exercise" is from 1889.

It is called a "medicine ball" and it got that title from Prof. Roberts, now of Springfield, whose fame is widespread, and whose bright and peculiar dictionary of terms for his prescription department in physical culture is taught in every first-class conducted Y.M.C.A. gymnasium in America. Prof. Roberts calls it a "medicine ball" because playful exercise with it invigorates the body, promotes digestion, and restores and preserves one's health. ["Scientific American Supplement," March 16, 1889]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

take one's medicine in Medicine


  1. The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.
  2. The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.
  3. The practice of medicine.
  4. An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

take one's medicine in Science


  1. The scientific study or practice of diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases or disorders of the body or mind of a person or animal.
  2. An agent, such as a drug, used to treat disease or injury.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with take one's medicine

take one's medicine

Put up with unpleasantness, learn one's lesson. For example, After failing math, he had to take his medicine and go to summer school. This idiom uses medicine in the sense of “a bitter-tasting remedy.” [Mid-1800s]


see dose of one's own medicine; take one's medicine.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.